Joey Carbery: It has taken time to shake off the rust

Joey Carbery: It has taken time to shake off the rust

Munster and Ireland out-half Joey Carbery admitted yesterday he has been finding it difficult to get “back into the swing of things” since his return from a lengthy injury absence.

Having already missed several weeks of competitive action in the aftermath of the 2019 World Cup, Carbery briefly resumed provincial duty before undergoing ankle and wrist surgery in January 2020. He had to wait all of 13 months for his next competitive game — an away victory for Munster over Cardiff Blues in the PRO14.

Since then, Carbery has lined out for the Reds on 11 further occasions as well as making four appearances in an Irish shirt.

While the 26-year-old had no issues overcoming his injury woes, regaining the sharpness required of a professional rugby player has proven more of a challenge.

“I think getting back into rugby has been a lot harder than getting over the injury to be honest, because you’re out for so long. If you don’t do something you get a bit rusty and I’ve felt like it has taken me a while to get back into it. Hopefully I can keep improving and keep getting better,” Carbery said.

“You can do as much video as you want and watch training, but until you actually do it and get back out there, it’s a different ball game. That’s been the hardest thing really, getting back into the swing of things. These things take time.

“To be honest, I am loving it. Loving being injury-free. Hopefully try and improve every day and get better.”

Nonetheless, Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has shown his faith in Carbery by starting him in summer tests against Japan and the USA, before introducing him for the latter stages of wins at the expense of the Japanese and New Zealand — the country of his birth — on the past two weekends.

He displayed his mettle during his brief time on the pitch at a packed Aviva Stadium last Saturday as he converted three penalties to give Ireland the edge over the All Blacks for the third time since 2016.

Carbery played a similar role in getting them past the southern hemisphere giants in historic fashion at Soldier Field, Chicago a little more than five years ago and acknowledges this made it easier to see out Saturday’s game.

“I think coming onto the pitch the last day, having that in the back of my mind, knowing that we’ve all done that before, was great for the team. But I think it came back more so to the preparation the team had done that week and in the weeks pr

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