Mike Catt is enjoying watching his Leinster team-mate Joey Carbery take his career to another level.
The 27-year-old Ireland full-back, who was in line to replace Conor Murray in Saturday’s win over the All Blacks before being ruled out with an injury, impressed in more than one way against the world champions.
Timeline: Ireland v New Zealand – the Six Nations fixtures Show Hide Ireland’s preparations Ireland have had a lighter training camp than usual with their usual autumn schedule ending early and head coach Joe Schmidt making five changes to the starting team that played against New Zealand. Schmidt kept faith with the side that beat Argentina (17-10) with a combination of players who started against New Zealand in the summer and several more who featured in Leinster’s Champions Cup win over Saracens a fortnight ago. Joe Schmidt on James Ryan (Leinster’s openside flanker) who started against New Zealand and had a solid game but is unfortunate not to be involved in the Six Nations. He is happy with the 14 we have as we believe we have the quality across the back row to build on that opportunity and challenge for a series victory. Six Nations 2013: Ireland win Joe Schmidt’s debut Six Nations campaign resulted in an undefeated campaign and two titles. This was the most successful year in Irish rugby since 1913. Eight Six Nations titles and 33 wins between 2005 and 2014, including last four. 2015: Ireland looked set to repeat last year’s Six Nations win when they took a bonus point win over England in Dublin, but three late tries cost them. Richardt Strauss shares his thoughts on Ireland’s Six Nations campaign at his blog. Having a go Catt says it is important for any team to know how to finish games, particularly during championship matches. “The good thing about Joe’s team is that they have been around the block in big games before and can play some of the better attacking rugby.” Ireland’s matches against Ireland until the next World Cup, taking into account their 2017 defeat in London, include matches against Argentina, Wales, Scotland, France and Wales. • Ireland fixtures to 2019 Six Nations – New Zealand: 22 Nov, Murrayfield, Eng – Conf. 16 May, Principality Stadium, Eng – Conf. 2 June, Principality Stadium, Eng – Conf. 10 June, Murrayfield, Eng – Conf. 19 June, Principality Stadium, Eng – Conf. 22 June, Murrayfield, Eng – Conf. 30 June, Principality Stadium, Eng – Conf. 2 July, Murrayfield, Eng – Conf. 11 July, Murrayfield, Eng – Conf. 29 July, Murrayfield, Eng – Conf. 10 August, Principality Stadium, Eng – Conf. 19 August, Principality Stadium, Eng – Conf. 5 September, Principality Stadium, Eng – Conf.
He caught fire in a try-scoring role against New Zealand and helped the side finish the game strongly after they were denied a certain try.
“There’s been a lot written in the last week but I guess it’s a testament to the part Joey has played in Leinster this year that he’s managed to be back in the Test squad,” Catt said.
“You have got to remember, he’s a big guy so it’s really encouraging to see him show his point of difference as an attacking player.”
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Catt was part of a Leinster team who successfully defended their European Cup crown last weekend, and he hopes his former team-mate Carbery will continue to lead the way for his country.
“He’s been one of the standouts for Leinster and, for Ireland, the whole autumn campaign shows you what he’s capable of and it’s great to see that he’s learning at every single game,” Catt said.
“It was a good feeling seeing Joey lead the team out on Saturday against New Zealand. I can only wish him the best of luck over the next few months and try to give him support.”