‘This move is exactly what I need’ says Ireland international ahead of Top 14 switch

David Skippers
Munster fly-half Joey Carbery kicking.

Munster fly-half Joey Carbery kicking.

Munster and Ireland fly-half Joey Carbery admits that the decision to leave Munster at the end of the season was not an easy one, but the opportunity to ply his trade in France was a move he could not turn down.

Although his time at Munster has been blighted by injuries since he joined them from arch-rivals Leinster in 2018, the 28-year-old is set to further his career with Bordeaux-Begles from next season.

Carbery has made just 61 appearances during his five-and-a-half seasons at Munster and his injury woes has seen Jack Crowley overtake him as United Rugby Championship (URC) outfit’s first-choice number 10 while he has also dropped out of Ireland head coach Andy Farrell’s squad.

“I didn’t necessarily want to leave”

While Carbery revealed that it was an “extremely tough” decision to leave Munster, he admitted that his setbacks at Test level played a part in him opting to make a fresh start in France.

“I didn’t necessarily want to leave the Irish system,” he told RTE. “But I suppose off the back of the last two Six Nations and the World Cup, not being involved, it was not nice to be sitting on the sides. I think the opportunity came around, and it was a fresh start.

“Extremely tough decision. I suppose it was a great opportunity that I couldn’t really pass by, and the way things have gone over the last years for me, a few people I’ve chatted to said a fresh start can do the world of good for some people. I’ve taken it for that reason.”

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The 37-Test international’s longest stint on the sidelines came in 2020 when he struggled with a wrist issue and had surgery on a long-term ankle injury.

That meant he was out of action for a full year, but when he recovered, he was still a regular in the Ireland squad and won 15 more Ireland Test caps between the summer of 2021 and 2022’s Autumn Nations Series.

After that, his form suffered a dip, however, which resulted in him being dropped from Ireland’s Test squad in 2023, and Crowley took his spot as Munster’s first-choice fly-half with Ben Healy serving as his back-up as the Irish province won the URC title.

“There was a time last year when I was really, really not enjoying rugby and so I think this [move] is exactly what I need,” added Carbery. “It’s a tough place to leave but then it’s also such an exciting opportunity.

“Talking to friends, family, stuff like that, and then just in 10 or 15 years’ time, I didn’t want to be looking back and regret something like that.

“I think it’s a good move for me, just how everything has gone, I think a fresh start will do me the world of good. I’m still only 28 so who knows what happens in the future.”

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