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Friday 24 November 2017

Carbery: Sexton is best teacher in world

Joe Carbery.
Joe Carbery.

It was the Tuesday of the week of Ireland's historic first win over the All Blacks when Joey Carbery blew out the candles on his 21st birthday cake.

What does he remember about it? "The whole buzz around the city and, then, there was my first game and the build-up all around that.

"I was pretty excited more so than anything. Coming on with 20 minutes to go and Jamie (Heaslip) saying 'relax, take your time'.

"It was good to have all the players around me, who could give me that little bit of advice in my ear and cool everything down."

It worked. Carbery called the play that led to the winning score, launching an attack from deep that put Ireland in dreamland.

"I couldn't have dreamed anything more and dreams came though that day, playing for Ireland and against the All Blacks as well. That was something I always wanted to do," he said.

The whirlwind rise from the All-Ireland League with Clontarf to international rugby has yielded four caps already.

Celebrated

One year on, Carbery celebrated his 22nd birthday last Wednesday on November 1.

Now, South Africa stand where New Zealand did this time last year, except it will take place at the Aviva this Saturday (KO5.30) rather than Soldier Field.

The odds are on Carbery having a shot at full-back as Irealnd coach Joe Schmidt has to decide between his X-Factor and the experience of Rob Kearney.

Either way, he will probably have to cover out-half where Jonathan Sexton has been super-supportive.

"There is so many times after training I can go up and quiz him on what he has done and what I have done," he said.

"If I sit down in front of a laptop, he might pop his head over my shoulder and just say 'listen, stay square here, just give more space there'.

"He is probably the best person in the world I can learn from at this stage," said Carbery.

"Just on his detail, how well he knows the game, he has such a good rugby brain.

"It's really good to be able to pick it," he added.

"It helps me a lot to be able to see a different view other than just mine."

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