Cool Carbery only has eyes for Montpellier as arm injury abates
Joey Carbery has his sights set on Montpellier in the Champions Cup in just over two weeks.
The versatile playmaker was fresh from his first pitch session since a fractured arm caused his removal from the Aviva Stadium midway through the second half of Ireland's November win over Fiji.
He has had to sit and suffer through Leinster's last four matches, two in Europe and two in the PRO14.
In the meantime, Ross Byrne has stepped up to the plate to assist Johnny Sexton in guiding the province to four wins from four crucial engagements.
After all, Ulster's Paddy Jackson is still out of the picture and Ian Madigan is in Bristol.
Byrne cannot be too far away from an invitation to Carton House.
In fairness, Munster's Ian Keatley has taken his game to another level in recent months.
However, there is such a thing as a 'Joe Schmidt player' and Carbery certainly fits this profile.
Before the Athy man can contemplate continuing his international career, he surely has to rebound into form for his club.
While he has been unable to play, Sexton and Byrne have been getting on with the business of keeping Leinster on track.
"That's the best thing about it," he issued. "We're going to be pushing each other on now, the three of us.
"That will make the three of us better and we'll be constantly on top of our game."
Carbery does not fall into the category of those who believe the standstill of being unable to play means he is losing ground.
Maybe, this has something to do with the fact his particular injury has allowed him to keep active, in terms of fitness.
"If anyone is injured someone has to come in to play, that's the beauty of a big squad," he said.
"I think Ross has taken his opportunity really well and he's doing so well for the team.
"And the team has been winning, so that's the main thing."
The 22-year-old really needs to hit the ground running whether from full-back or out-half as the second-half of the season begins to unfold before him.
"It (the injury) was annoying because I was just getting a bit of time at 10, even with Ireland," he rued."It would have been good to get a few games under my belt.
"Now, I just have to work hard and hopefully get back in the team."
There is a certain degree of waiting-and-seeing as Carbery goes about testing the resolve of his arm.
"Well, it's just out of the splint and the cast, so it hasn't had any mobility really," he said.
"It's pretty stiff at the moment. They said over the next few days it should loosen out a good bit."
All being well, Carbery will come through all the checks and balances that have to be ticked.
"It is part and parcel of a pretty physical game. It's probably an annoying time to get injured," he said.
"Hopefully, now I'm on the flipside of it and can remain injury-free for the next year or two."
Leinster need him. Ireland will too.