‘Johnny Sexton out’, the words no Irish fan wanted hear as the team to face France was announced yesterday. Our most important and irreplaceable player missing for the biggest and most anticipated game of the Six Nations.
It’s news that would make markets crash, and indeed it sent fans and pundits into a scramble trying to make sense of what this would mean for Ireland’s performance. The discourse surrounding the match had been set in a completely new direction, and that direction is now firmly set on Sexton’s replacement Joey Carbery.
Joey Carbery's Six Nations Debut
Speaking to Balls.ie on The Takeaway with Chicago Town, former Ireland centre Gordon D’Arcy was fairly optimistic about Carbery. He believes that Ireland’s current attack will allow him to slot in more comfortably than in past seasons, as the attack is now less reliant on Sexton.
“I think it’s going to put an awful lot of scrutiny under the Irish attack philosophy, and it looks like they were moving away from being overly reliant on Johnny, so we’ll see with Joey coming in.
“I think it’s just the disruption coming into this week is probably the biggest disappointment for all the players because Johnny would have trained for the majority of the week and got injured on Thursday so Joey’s had very little time on the team, but listen we know he’s quality so hopefully not that disruptive.
“We need him to be fit and we probably need him to play 80 minutes, so he’s going to have to hit the ground running. He’s suited to the way we’re playing.
“So if the forwards play the way they have been playing, it should be ok the type of role that he’s playing, and the way we’re playing he should be ok.”
Wise words from D’Arcy, who has faith in a play style that that picked up in last week’s Six Nations encounter with Wales where it had left off in the Autumn.
If Carbery does perform to his ability, it will go a long way to deciding the victor of tomorrow’s match and probably the victor of the 2022 Six Nations Championship.