Joey Carbery joined OTB AM on Wednesday morning to discuss Ireland and France's Six Nations game.
Ireland lost a close game to France last weekend.
The home side overpowered Andy Farrell's men in France, obliterating them in the first half before holding off a late surge in the second. Joey Carbery made his first start in an incredibly difficult environment. While playing on the backfoot throughout the game, Carbery was able to create openings and retain possession about as well as he could have been expected to.
Carbery is in line to retain the starting jersey against Italy and potentially moving forward. Part of his success was his ability to kick from the tee.
But him kicking from the tee was also part of the controversy that came after the game. Ireland kicked a penalty to go from six points behind to three points behind with nine minutes remaining. They could have put the ball in the corner and gone for the try. By kicking, they were playing for the draw and/or the losing bonus point.
It seemed like obviously the wrong call but the whole Ireland camp have regrouped to defend it since then. Andy Farrell and James Ryan spoke up after the game and Carbery stands with them.
"Looking back on it, I think it was the right call," Carbery said.
"It brought us within three points with nine minutes left. Who knows, we get back within halfway and Conor Murray or myself back ourselves from there. I think it was the right call at the time. Looking back, if I was to go back in time and do it again, I'd still do the same thing."
That is the concern for Ireland fans. If this group of players is in the same situation again in a future game, will they make the same decision again? Jonathan Sexton kicks the ball to the corner to try and win the game. We know that. But this group appears to believe the more cautious approach is the better approach.
Carbery explained the thought process behind that.
"Anyone knows that hindsight is a great thing. People can be like 'Oh if you kicked to the corner and scored the seven you'd have won,' but you don't know. France could have come back. You just don't know. We all think to this day that's the right call and that's what we have to go on. We're the ones out on the pitch, we're the ones who have to live by it.
"I think we were right."
Despite the scrutiny that the team, and especially the leadership group, has received over that decision, Carbery has felt the support and excitement from fans surrounding his return to full health.
"Massively. Massively. I feel a huge amount of support. There was so much well wishes. It's so nice to be able to go out there and show somewhat of what I can do. It's really exciting, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the tournament."
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