Brian O’Driscoll – “I Don’t Even Think Beauden Barrett Has That Footwork”

Footwork.

Ronan O’Gara doubled down last week on his comments about Munster and Ireland outhalf Joey Carbery, who he thinks has the potential to be as good as two-time World Player of the Year Beauden Barrett if he keeps improving at his current rate.

Carbery was called into action much sooner than he would have expected on Saturday with Johnny Sexton forced off after just 28 minutes. And the 23-year-old impressed a lot of people, despite a shaky start.

And while O’Gara has compared him to Barrett, another Irish legend in Brian O’Driscoll reckons he’s got weapons in his arsenal that the All Black doesn’t even have.

“I spoke to Jonny Wilkinson about this yesterday, I don’t even think Beauden Barrett has that footwork, he’s got that crazy acceleration but he doesn’t have that back three footwork like a Shane Williams who can find space in a phone box.” O’Driscoll told Off The Ball

“He [Carbery] has a looseness to his game but that brings such excitement. He’s quite a different player to Johnny [Sexton]. Johnny’s more strategic and formulaic.”

“Joey is almost the antithesis of that. He comes in with a spark and maybe doesn’t run the patterns as well as Johnny but he brings something totally different.”

“I think Johnny has lost a half-yard of space and I don’t think he’s as comfortable in open space as he once was.”

“Joey is quick and agile and that is his game.”

With Carbery likely to get the nod at ten against Italy in a couple of weeks, O’Driscoll believes now is his chance to try and usurp Sexton for the World Cup in Japan.

“You’re replacing the World Player of the Year. There’s added pressure that comes with that.”

“Yes, he’s been very good for Munster but now there are constant question marks, ‘Is he the one to challenge Johnny ahead of the World Cup?’.”

“This is his opportunity. Of course there is going to be excitement and nerves.”