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Leinster have been told to send one of two flyhalves to Ulster - reports

By Online Editors
Joey Carbery. Photo / Getty Images

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It’s been reported that Leinster are being pressured by the IRFU into choosing between two flyhalves to send to Ulster – that’s according to Peter Reilly writing in the Sunday Times.

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According to his report Joe Schmidt and no-nonsense IRFU performance director David Nucifora have impressed upon Leinster headcoach Leo Cullen the need to send one of either Joey Carbery or Ross Byrne to Ulster.

The news has not gone down well in Leinster, who are apparently annoyed at having their hands forced at what is a crucial time of the season.

Ulster have struggled to fill the gap left by Paddy Jackson’s lack of availability throughout the season as he faced court charges and now that his IRFU contract has been ‘revoked’, the need for a first-rate flyhalf remains.

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Watch: Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper returns to rugby with Souths in Brisbane, putting on a magic show with an array of skilled passing.

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Leinster have an embarrassment of riches with Jonny Sexton, Joey Carbery, Ross Byrne and Cathal Marsh all at their disposal.

After Sexton, Carbery is the clear standout in terms of talent and is being used – in effect – as a utility back from the bench. Meanwhile Ross Byrne has proven himself an able backup flyhalf to Sexton throughout what has been a superb season for the Irish province.

Carbery is apparently keen to stay on at Leinster, which is understandable given Sexton’s age profile (32) and Carbery’s standing at the club.

“I haven’t considered it,” Carbery said in January when quizzed about the move. “If someone from Leinster came up and said it to me, then maybe I would consider it. But the chat has only come from the media so I’m not paying too much attention to it, to be honest.”

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However, from an IRFU point of view a move to Ulster would give either Carbery – or indeed Byrne – week-in, week-out high-level exposure as a starting pivot. The union are their ultimate paymasters and having three top-level 10s at one province while another province goes wanting makes little sense.

Munster’s JJ Hanrahan has also been linked to a move North, as Munster already have the services of both Ian Keatley and Tyler Bleyendaal – who was Munster’s Player of the Season last season.

While there had been talk of exiled Wallaby Quade Cooper joining as a stop-gap measure earlier in the season – the IRFU understandably will have little interest in forking out another large pay packet on an overseas player who is not Irish qualified.

The most recent move by the IRFU suggests headquarters are intent on one of Leinster’s back-ups making the trip up the M1 to Belfast.

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