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Published: 16:28 | 14/11/17

Carbery a 'special" player, says Murphy

Ireland skills coach Richie Murphy believes Leinster back Joey Carbery is "a little bit special because of his versatility".

New Zealand-born Carbery has made just one start and four appearances from the bench for Ireland, but impressed as a second-half replacement for Johnny Sexton in Saturday's 38-3 thrashing of South Africa at the Aviva Stadium.

Murphy says the Ireland coaching team view Carbery primarily as a fly-half, but would have no hesitation in utilising the 22-year-old as a makeshift full-back.

"That's where we see him at the moment but we do also realise he has the versatility of playing at 15, and he has also played at nine before," Murphy said.

"He is one of those players that's a little bit special because of his versatility.

"He's a great guy to watch. You try to build opportunities in or around him and with some of our set-plays and stuff like that.

"At the end of the day, he is one of those guys who has an ability to beat people and those guys don't come around very often in Ireland; there's plenty of them in Fiji. That makes him a little bit special and a little bit different."

Carbery, who made his debut in the historic 40-29 win over New Zealand at Soldier Field in November 2016, missed the summer tour of Japan after injuring his ankle in the 55-19 victory over the USA Eagles on 10 June.

But Murphy believes the Auckland native, who also underwent surgery for syndesmosis of the ankle in December 2016, has improved over the past 12 months despite the stop-start nature of his Ireland career.

"He's a little bit stronger and has come into our environment more as a 10 than as a 15 at the moment and he's stepped up really well," Murphy continued.

"He's organised others around him and has fitted into that role really well.

"From my point of view, one of the things is goal-kicking, and he hasn't had the opportunity to do that on a regular basis but the two strikes at the weekend were fantastic and we'll be looking forward to him getting a bit more opportunity in that area over the next couple of weeks.

"When you don't goal-kick on a regular basis at your club and you have to step up in front of 50,000 and it's an international, it's a pretty daunting place to be.

"He's a strong man, he's got a real focus on what he's going to do in training and to bring it into the match.

"He stood up at the weekend which was fantastic. There will be more opportunities for him to do that again."

Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne and Leinster lock James Ryan are major doubts for Saturday's Test match against Fiji after sitting Tuesday's training session at Carton House after suffering knocks against South Africa on Saturday.

"Dave Kilcoyne and James Ryan are both carrying bangs and sat out training today but should be fit later in the week," Murphy said.

"[Leinster forward] Michael Bent has come in as cover. John Ryan has returned to Munster to do a bit of rehab [on his calf injury] but we expect him to be available for next week [for the November international against Argentina on 25 November].

eir Sport is the home of international rugby in November. On 18 November, eir Sport subscribers can watch Italy against Argentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence [kick off 2pm, eir Sport 2], followed by Scotland versus world champions New Zealand at Murrayfield [kick off 5.15pm, BT Sport 2], and then round off a super Saturday of Test match rugby with France v South Africa at the Stade de France [kick off 8pm, eir Sport 2]

Photo Inpho/ Oisin Keniry

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