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Joe Schmidt has confirmed that opportunity knocks for his pair of relatively inexperienced outhalves amid ongoing concern for Joey Carbery, with both Ross Byrne and Jack Carty to see game time against England at Twickenham on Saturday.
As expected, Byrne will made his first test start after two appearances off the bench last November after being named at outhalf in the run-on XV to face England, with Carty sure to see a chunk of game time in a fifth appearance off the bench.
“He’s trained really well and it’s not his debut, he’s had time with us before so we’ve got a lot of confidence in him anyway and I think he built his way through the season,” said Schmidt of Byrne.
“I thought he was maybe not as impressive as Jack early in the season, and I think those two have become really important to us.
“Joey has done well this week,” added Schmidt in reference to Carbery’s increased workload with the backroom staff as he recovers from an operation on the left ankle he injured against Italy in Ireland’s opening warm-up game last Saturday week.
“Johnny (Sexton), he’s fine, but he missed a bit of time with his thumb so he’s a little bit behind and we know how well he plays for us, we don’t feel that he needs a lot of time with the experience that he’s got.
“So, for us, the guys that need the time are probably Ross and Jack and they’ve got the opportunity to do that this weekend, that they’ll share a bit of time, I’d say, in the middle.”
Byrne and Carty offered contrasting strengths, with the former more akin to Sexton and the latter more comparable to Carbery.
“That’s probably a fair observation. I think Ross’s ability to control the game, it’s one of the things that was defining between Joey and him at Leinster probably in that Ross ran the game and Joey ran really well individually but I think it’s also something that comes with a rhythm and game time.
“Jack, whenever he came off the bench for us in the Six Nations, I thought he did a super job. So we have a lot of confidence in Jack being able to control the game and we do think he can bring a bit of a change up off the bench.
“Either way, I think they’ll both get
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