When Joey Carbery made the decision to join Munster at the beginning of last season, the 2019 Rugby World Cup was very much on his mind.
Seeking consistent game time at out-half was a strong desire for the 23-year-old as he wanted to increase his opportunities in green and put more pressure on his rival Johnny Sexton.
In terms of his first season at Munster, when fit and available, Carbery was the southern province’s first choice out-half.
A hamstring injury which curtailed his involvement in the second half of the season was disappointing but there’s no arguing that the move has worked out for both parties. Getting that regular exposure at out-half can only increase Carbery’s ability and consistency.
“I loved it (first season with Munster),” Carbery said.
“At 10 you’re a bit more involved and have a bit more influence on the game which is what I want. I loved the season and I definitely learned a lot from it as well.”
“100%. You’re doing the one job over and over. You get used to it and you use certain ways where you can build on it so it’s really nice to have that consistency there.”
The only major blip in Carbery’s first season with Munster was the Heineken Champions Cup clash away to Castres where he ended the game with a 50% success rate in front of goal.
Since then, the Auckland-born out-half went on a brilliant streak where he has landed 25 consecutive kicks and he believes he’s in a pretty good place when it comes to his work off the tee.
“Yeah. I do think I’m in a pretty good place when it comes to that stuff (kicking). Feeling pretty confident and it’s going to be a big summer of training to try and get the body and mind right, but I’m pretty confident going into the next couple of months that if I’m called upon, I should be ready.”
Carbery is modest whenever the subject of starting for Ireland is raised, he’s very much about the collective but there’s no doubt that there is a burning desire underneath to be Ireland’s number one out-half.
The 2019 World Cup will be his first and even just playing a small part will no doubt be a huge milestone in his career.
It’s something that he’s always dreamed of doing.
“It’s always something that I’ve really, really wanted to do. Watching them (World Cups) when I was younger and stuff. it’s going to be hugely exciting and something I’ve never experienced, the buzz around the cities and Japan, in general, will be huge.”
It will also be a special experience for the Carbery clan. Carbery’s father plays a strong role in his son’s career proving to be an important outlet for advice and feedback. All those important in Carbery’s life will travel to Japan in the hope of seeing him line out in green and of course, for Ireland to create history.
“My parents and my girlfriend are definitely going over. It’s hard to plan for, you just don’t know with injuries or with anything what’s going to happen. When they do go over, it will be a last minute job. I suppose it doesn’t happen too often and it only comes around every four years and who’s to say I’ll be around for the next one? It’s pretty special for them to be involved.”
For now, it’s all about preparation and although the tournament may seem far away, Carbery knows that the weeks will fly by.
“It seems a bit far away but then the last week and a half (in camp) has flown by. It doesn’t seem like it has been a week in a half since we’ve been in camp, so that kind of gives me the inkling that it’s going to go very fast.
“We just have to enjoy it as well as you’re in playing with your friends, you’re staying with them in camp. You have to work hard but (it’s) a pretty enjoyable time.”
Pictured as part of Avonmore Protein Milk’s ‘You’ve Got This’ campaign is International Rugby Player Joey Carbery who is inspiring others through his performances last season, showcasing that hard-work and dedication are key to success, as he launches new Blueberry Protein Milk.