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Joey Carbery handed an exciting new role at Munster

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Ireland hopeful Joey Carbery has been handed a potentially exciting new role at Munster as the out-half regular has been named to start at full-back for the first time by the Irish province a month into his fifth season at the club.

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All of Carbery’s previous 28 starts for the team he joined in the summer of 2018 have been at No10 and you have to go back to May of that year when he left Dublin for Limerick to find the last club game he started wearing the No15 jersey – the PRO14 semi-final for Leinster against Munster at the RDS Arena.

In total, Carbery was chosen as the starting full-back on 15 occasions in his 26 starts across his two seasons in the Leinster first-team before he decided his development would be best served by a switch to Munster.

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The soon-to-be 27-year-old has since endured an injury-hit time at Munster and his two appearances so far this season have been off the bench in the URC against Dragons and Zebre but he has now been picked as the starting No15 when his team travels to Connacht on Friday for a derby game with their Galway-based neighbours.

Munster’s attack has struggled this season, but Graham Rowntree and co will hope that the naming of Carbery at full-back can ignite some added creativity in an XV that shows four changes in total from last Saturday’s low-frills win in Cork over Zebre. Gavin Coombes and Conor Murray mirror Carbery in making their first starts of the season while Jean Kleyn is back in the side after recovering from a head knock.

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Aside from a potentially important outing for Carbery in terms of showcasing his talents to Ireland boss Andy Farrell, the return of Murray at scrum-half is also timely given that Test team first-choice Jamison Gibson-Park has suffered a hamstring injury setback at Leinster with the countdown on towards the November 5 Autumn Nations Series opener against the Springboks.

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Academy pair Conor Phillips and Patrick Campbell will support Carbery on the Munster wings, Murray will form a half-back partnership with Ben Healy while on the bench, Fionn Gibbons – another academy member – is set to make his first-team debut. The centre/wing was a Six Nations Grand Slam winner with the Ireland U20s earlier this year.

Munster (vs Connacht, Friday)
15. Joey Carbery; 14. Conor Phillips, 13. Malakai Fekitoa, 12. Dan Goggin, 11. Patrick Campbell; 10. Ben Healy, 9. Conor Murray; 1. Dave Kilcoyne, 2. Niall Scannell, 3. Keynan Knox, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. Tadhg Beirne, 6. Jack O’Donoghue, 7. Peter O’Mahony (capt), 8. Gavin Coombes. Reps: 16. Scott Buckley, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. Stephen Archer, 19. Edwin Edogbo, 20. Jack O’Sullivan, 21. Craig Casey, 22. Rory Scannell, 23. Fionn Gibbons.

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