Former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan has uttered something that no Leinster fan wants to hear in the wake of Ireland's less than convincing win over Fiji on Saturday.
Joey Carbery started at #10, the first time he had done so this season as he is regularly picked to play at full-back, and put in an impressive display before leaving the pitch due to a broken wrist which will keep him out for some time. As Carbery is now clearly Ireland's best option as a stand-in for Johnny Sexton, O'Sullivan believes that the 22-year-old leaving Leinster would be a positive for Irish rugby.
With Sexton a nailed on starter when fit, Carbery will likely not get enough game-time in the position to trust him if we need him when the World Cup comes around, and for this reason O'Sullivan - speaking on Against The Head on RTE - believes he could gain the necessary experience elsewhere, although he stopped short of selecting a destination for fear of 'getting shot'.
It’s fairly unlikely that in the current set-up he’s going to get enough rugby at 10 before the next World Cup to give him the chance to play at the level he needs to play at.
If anything were to happen to Johnny Sexton and he hasn’t that experience under his belt of managing a game under huge pressure and it comes unstuck, we’ll all be giving out about it. That has to be fixed somehow and it’s not an easy solution.
No-one wants to say it, but maybe he needs a season outside of Leinster at the 10 position in Ireland, if he’s going to make that big step. Nobody wants to talk about that yet.
I wouldn’t suggest anywhere because I’d only get shot for it, but the point of the matter is, it’s the only real solution if he wants to get week in, week out rugby at 10.
It’s not going to be at Leinster because the number 10 for Ireland is in Leinster. He’ll pick up a handful of games but that is a dilemma. I think the solution has to be worked out elsewhere.
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) November 20, 2017
Another issue is Rob Kearney, as he is first choice full-back for Joe Schmidt with Ireland, so does he knock the continually impressive Carbery back to the bench when all are fit and available?
It's a selection headache for Leo Cullen, but if Carbery is going to be playing at #10 for Ireland it's clear that he would benefit from playing there for his club too. If that doesn't happen, then he may need a change of scene, and one which still allows him to represent Ireland unlike Simon Zebo.