Joey Carbery was the star man for Ireland against Argentina. And he played two positions in the process.
Ireland finished off their Autumn Nations Series with a dominant display over Argentina.
Joey Carbery kicked two penalties and six conversions, missing just one kick from the sideline on the day. Ireland fell behind 7-0 in the opening minutes, but finished the game on a 53-0 run. Josh van der Flier scored two tries. Andrew Porter, Caelan Doris, Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy and Tadhg Beirne scored one each.
Although all the tries were scored by forwards, it was Carbery who stood out.
He was outstanding in defence and not only kicked well from the tee, but also kicked well down the line. Carbery controlled the game with the ball and made breaks into space when he had opportunities. He played on the gain line against an aggressive Argentina defence before moving into fullback on the hour mark.
Carbery appears to be Ireland's second-choice fullback behind Hugo Keenan. It was a preplanned move to play him there.
But Andy Farrell also revealed that Carbery is an option at inside centre too after the game, so he has more routes into the team than just at out-half.
Johnny Sexton's successor? Forget that.
Joey Carbery showed today that he doesn't have to wait until Sexton retires to start for Ireland.
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) November 21, 2021
"It was always the plan," Farrell said.
"He's been covering 12 and 15. There's a few other lads that are in the same position. They deal with it seamlessly. I thought he was good. Obviously his place-kicking is exceptional and that keeps the scoreboard ticking over. For him to be in charge for the full week with Johnny not being there was a great experience for Joey.
"He'll certainly learn a lot from that game, as will Harry as well."
Now that we know Carbery is being considered at other positions, there is a chance that he and Jonathan Sexton can play together. So even if Carbery can't force competition between the two for the starting spot right now, he can still get on the field during the Six Nations.
But the problem is Ireland are very strong at both of those other positions.
To start at inside center Carbery will need to beat out Robbie Henshaw, but that won't happen. To start at fullback, Carbery will need to beat out Hugo Keenan, so that won't happen either. Instead, it likely means that Carbery will have greater value on the bench for Ireland. His versatility and overall quality will make him an impact player at multiple positions.
When Farrell was asked if Carbery's performance today guaranteed him an opportunity to start in next year's Six Nations, Farrell wasn't drawn in.
Carbery has never started a Six Nations or World Cup game.
"We'll see. I don't know. There's a long time until then. I'm sure other lads will have their say as well.
"I thought Harry came on and did pretty well. Jack Carty has been playing pretty well. Billy Burns has to be pretty disappointed not to be here as well. We'll see when they go back to their clubs and how they perform."
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