Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Michael Scully

Jamie Heaslip on Joey Carbery's Ireland omission: 'With any player, it's evolve or die'

Jamie Heaslip insists Joey Carbery must quickly evolve or his World Cup hopes will die following his shock omission from Ireland's Six Nations squad.

Andy Farrell lobbed a selection grenade yesterday by leaving out the 37-times capped Munster no 10 - and Johnny Sexton will have two different understudies during the championship.

Carbery's Munster back up Jack Crowley was expected to make the cut after starting against Australia in November.

READ MORE: Nothing's changed, insists Ross Byrne, as he keeps his focus off Six Nations selection for Ireland

Leinster's Ross Byrne - the match-winner against the Wallabies - is the real beneficiary and can look forward to Six Nations action for the first time in two years.

"With any player it's evolve or die," said Heaslip, speaking at the joint launch of RTE and Virgin Media's Six Nations coverage.

"The minute you stand still is the minute you're going to get passed out. It's the same with a team.

"I'm not a psychologist, I don't know if Joey has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset or anything like that. Every player should have a growth mindset.

"But if Joey doesn't take it as 'go away and learn', then maybe it is the end. But that's on him.

"Gavin Coombes has reacted really well to his omission, other players have as well.

"It's sport, it's not always going to go your way - you win some, you lose some.

"You get picked, you don't get picked. To use that Rocky Balboa line, it's not how many times you get knocked down, it's how you get back up and get going again."

Heaslip's view is that Carbery has always been a full-back, not an out-half.

Joey Carbery (©INPHO/Morgan Treacy)

Leinster were well stocked with Sexton and Byrne, and Carbery made the controversial move to Munster in 2018 to be the Reds' no 10.

"They're now finding their groove and Joey is doing alright," he said. "I still don't think he commands that team as well as a 10 should.

"Now I'm a meathead former forward and people can have a different opinion on that.

"But I see glimpses of Jack and he's barking at lads and you're going, 'oh, he's demanding that' and then he's delivering himself. You get the respect from the players, there's a bit of a flywheel effect.

"Ireland have had long enough to look at Joey at 10, he's had plenty of opportunities. I don't think they learn a whole lot more by having him in camp right now.

"And maybe they're going, 'OK, we're going to reward a bit of form, Ross has done it consistently, forever, at 10, let's give him the chance...step up mate if you get the chance'."

Heaslip predicts that Crowley will be on the bench for the Six Nations games that Sexton starts and, for those he doesn't, Byrne will start as the like for like replacement.

Munster’s Jack Crowley and Joey Carbery celebrate the URC victory over Edinburgh in early December 2022 (©INPHO/Craig Watson)

Rob Kearney, meanwhile, was critical of Carbery's Ireland performances last year and believes it is a "fair assumption to make" that the last two years have been wasted by sticking with the Athy man.

Kearney said: "That back-up number two out-half is even more important in this Irish team because of Johnny, his ability sometimes not to last the full 80 minutes and to pick up little niggles along the way.

"Is this a case of the coaching staff putting their hand up and saying, 'We've made a mistake over the last three years'.

"I don't think it's fully that, and Joey has come through some injury concerns.

"But his form isn't where it should be and it looks as if his confidence has taken a little bit of a dent."

Kearney was still in the Ireland team when Carbery suffered the serious ankle injury in 2019 that kept him out for over a year.

"It was tough to watch because he was a shadow of himself, he was in a huge amount of pain," he said. "He wasn’t able to do the things he was always able to do.

"Joey was always this languid, lovely footwork, really athletic, and during that period of 2019/2020 he had lost that a little bit.

"Any time I went through difficult periods, you’re looking for that spark - that one thing to get things moving for you again.

"And, who knows, if he has that great game he can potentially get to the heights that he's capable of."


Get the latest sports headlines straight to your inbox by signing up for free email alerts

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.