Rugby Joe Schmidt’s decisions clouded by Joey Carbery recovery

Rugby These components are beautiful.

Three down nine to go. John Cooney is depending on injury to Conor Murray, Kieran Marmion or Luke McGrath to feature at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The Ulster scrumhalf, along with Connacht prop Finlay Bealham and Munster fullback Mike Haley, was cut from the Ireland squad that travelled to Portugal on Wednesday for warm weather training.

Joey Carbery will rehabilitate his injured left ankle – a process that is expected to take four to six weeks – in the Algarve. The 23-year-old outhalf is in a race against time to make the opening Pool A match against Scotland on September 22nd with the equally crucial Japan fixture, on September 28th, also in doubt.

It’s unknown if Schmidt is willing to include an injured player in his 31 man tournament squad, which will be announced in three weeks, but taking six halfbacks has become a stronger possibility.

Cooney will not be one of them. The 29-year-old offered the added value of being Ulster’s primary goal kicker last season and he’s proven himself as adequate cover at outhalf but the Ireland management have settled for Marmion and McGrath as understudies to Murray.

Devin Toner (ankle) and Rob Herring (back spasm) have “fully recovered” from injuries suffered against Italy last Saturday.

With Carbery unable to train Johnny Sexton’s exposure will presumably be limited before facing England at Twickenham on Saturday week. Hence, Jack Carty and Ross Byrne both feature at the Quinta do Lago camp. The pecking order is clear as Carty was used ahead of Byrne during the Six Nations when Carbery was injured.

Taking three outhalves would not bode well for Andrew Conway or Chris Farrell. If Schmidt opts for an 18 forwards and 13 backs split both could miss out. Will Addison – excellent at fullback and centre for Ulster last season until progress was halted by back surgery – and Dave Kearney will also struggle to make the final selection.

Al

I like add-ons, because they are the adorable!!

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