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Did Joey Carbery let Ben Healy down? - Monday Night Rugby

Should Joey Carbery have demanded to take the final drop goal and the tougher penalties against Toulouse?

Cian Fahey
Cian Fahey

18:38 9 May 2022



Journalists Gerry Thornley and Liam Toland joined Joe Molloy on Monday Night Rugby this week.

Munster are just the second team to ever lose in the Champions Cup on penalties.

Ben Healy missed two kicks from the right side and Conor Murray missed the deeper kick from the middle of the field. Thomas Ramos, Antoine Dupont and Roman Ntamack each converted their first attempts, so there was no need for them to attempt a second.

While Munster performed admirably against one of the best teams in Europe, the satisfaction of the performance is matched by the frustration with the outcome.

Ben Healy almost won the game at the end of regulation with a great attempt at a kick from inside his own half. Healy missed that kick but it's one that few players could make. He then followed that miss up with a missed drop goal just before the end of extra time. Healy, and Munster as a team, rushed into the kick instead of setting up an easier opportunity.

Although Healy should have won the game in that moment, it's also fair to ask why he was asked to win them the game at all. Healy is a great kicker but he's also 22 years old. Joey Carbery is a great kicker who has played at the highest level of rugby. He's starred against France in France and he's beaten New Zealand more than once.

Carbery switched to fullback when Healy came on, he was an option for the drop goal and he should have taken the more difficult kicks in the penalty shootout.

Liam Toland and Gerry Thornley outlined this on Monday Night Rugby.

"For me the big talking point is that Healy took the kicks on the right and Carbery took the kicks on the left," Toland said.

"Regardless of statistics, and I don't know who made the decision who slots in where. Obviously Carbery and Healy are both goal kickers. It was interesting that Ramos, the official Toulouse goalkeeper took the hardest ones and Healy whether he volunteered or he was nominated, ended up doing it [for Munster].

"But I'm pretty sure if Ronan O'Gara was on the pitch he wouldn't have asked permission. He'd have gone and taken the most difficult side. And I was a bit unsure why Carbery, who is the Irish international...I was surprised that Carbery didn't step up, or wasn't allowed to step up."

"There was an awful lot of weight on those young shoulders."

Munster lost and maybe they deserved to in the end. But they also had plenty of chances to win the game. Toulouse deserve credit for their star players showing up in the biggest moments at the very end. But Munster fans feel like they shouldn't have ever reached that point.

While the penalty shootout will be more memorable, the missed drop goal is where the pain peaks.

"I just think you want your best player stepping up and demanding to take ownership.

"Obviously Ben Healy had the opportunity on the drop goal. He's a young player. He's got a future ahead of him. We know he's kicked some outrageous goals for Munster. And we've seen it in Thomond Park and across Europe. We know also Ronan O'Gara struggled in the Heineken Cup final against Northampton. So it's not usual that it happens.

"But when you have a de facto starting Ireland out-half in the ranks, I was surprised he wasn't demanding that opportunity to do it."

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Read more about

Antoine Dupont Ben Healy Conor Murray Joey Carbery Munster Rugby Roman Ntamack Thomas Ramos

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