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O'Driscoll: Joey Carbery not a 'genuine threat' to Sexton

By Online Editors
Joey Carbery's Rugby World Cup was impacted by an injury he picked up in the warm-up game against Italy. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Brian O’Driscoll doesn’t see Joey Carbery as a genuine threat to incumbent Ireland flyhalf Jonny Sexton, despite a below-par Six Nations for the World Player of the Year.

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O’Driscoll was speaking at Sky’s launch of their new ‘Extras’ package that includes BT Sports rugby union coverage.

“I don’t think he’s a genuine threat yet to Johnny,” the Ireland legend reflected. “As soon as this World Cup is over they’ve got to start thinking that way. But now with what Johnny’s achieved, he is World Player of the Year.”

O’Driscoll described Carbery as ‘exciting’ but say he will have to wait until after the Rugby World Cup before becoming a genuine contender for the Irish ten jersey.

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“By (Sexton’s) standards maybe he had a shaky few months and hasn’t had the same performances as he had in the last few seasons, but he’s still vital to Ireland’s success in the World Cup.

“It’s an easy selection, because he knows exactly what the team needs to achieve and everyone’s role within it.”

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Sexton and Carbery’s relationship appeared to have strained somewhat since the latter decamped to Munster in 2018. Indeed, tempers flared between the pair when they met in a PRO14 derby in Thomond Park last December.

Sexton threw the Munster pivot to the ground with a ‘horse collar’ before standing over him and appearing to deliver a few choice words.

The taunting display sparked memories of Sexton’s overzealous try celebration standing over another Munster outhalf, Ronan O’Gara, back in 2009.

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Sexton’s ugly display didn’t go unnoticed by fans, with some labeling it ‘petulant’ and a ‘disgrace’, calling into question his leadership role with Ireland.

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In 2018 former England fullback Ben Foden shocked the rugby world when he confirmed a switch to the newly formed Rugby United New York and Major League Rugby, America’s latest professional rugby venture.

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