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'I always supported the ABs'

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'I always supported the All Blacks' - Carbery opens up about New Zealand upbringing and Irish future

Young Ireland star Joey Carbery has opened up about his New Zealand upbringing and path to international success in an intimate interview with the New Zealand Herald.

23-year-old Carbery now has 16 tests to his name after making his debut for Ireland in 2016, playing 20 minutes off the bench and helping secure his country’s first victory over New Zealand in Chicago.

“I didn’t think I’d even get on,” Carbery told The New Zealand Herald.

“Having supported the All Blacks when I was younger I probably couldn’t have written it better.”

Carbery’s father moved to New Zealand while in his infancy, the country that Joey would call home until age 11 before the family moved back to mother Amanda’s hometown of Athy in Ireland.

“I used to play a lot of rugby — before, during, after school at my mates’ houses. That’s all we did,” he said.

“It’s a pretty cool place to grow up having the beach right on our doorstep.”

As for where his allegiance lied growing up, there was only one team for Carbery as a child.

“Growing up, I always supported the All Blacks and then when I first came over here I supported the All Blacks,” he said. “Now, I suppose, playing for Ireland it’s obviously Ireland but I’ll always have a soft spot for New Zealand.

“Eleven years when you’re young is quite a long time. I’m very happy and feel very lucky to have experienced both sides of the world. It’s pretty much as far as you can get from each other.”

After Ireland’s three-test tour of Australia in 2017, Carbery spent time with family in New Zealand at a Piha bach.

“There wasn’t too much happening in Dargaville, to be honest, but it was cool to go back and see where we lived.

“It seems like a different lifetime.”

Carbery has both sets of grandparents and four aunties based in Auckland but says they have fortunately been converted to Irish fans.

“They are wearing a bit more green than black which is good.”

Despite knocking off a major goal in his first test when he defeated the All Blacks just days after his 21st birthday, Carbery still has plenty of lofty ambitions on the field.

“Long term, I’d love to win a World Cup and be the best player in the world. It’s a huge ask but if I can keep getting better, who knows where I can get to.”

Carbery is the heir apparent to 77-test Ireland great Johnny Sexton in the No.10 shirt, though the Dargaville-born youngster doesn’t see it that way.

“Best case scenario would be to overtake him not just wait for him to stop. That’s one of my goals at the moment,” he said.

“That takes time and sometimes I have to tell myself to be patient. He’s obviously world player of the year but it still drives me on so I can almost be better than him.”

Carbery’s Munster are currently first in their Pro14 conference and are close to sealing a quarterfinal berth as pool winners in the Heineken Champions Cup.

Rugby World Cup City Guides – Oita:

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'I always supported the All Blacks' - Carbery opens up about New Zealand upbringing and Irish future