Springboks legend Victor Matfield likens Joe McCarthy to one of the greats


It’s been quite the year for Ireland and Leinster lock Joe McCarthy who continues to impress on both the domestic and international stage.

The 23-year-old was selected in Ireland’s Rugby World Cup squad last year, playing a limited role, before his performances for Leinster at the beginning of this season saw him selected to start Ireland’s Six Nations opener against France.

He was named Player of the Match in that game and played all five games for Ireland as they retained their Six Nations title, earning himself a spot in the Team of the Championship too.

And now he’s been given some glowing praise from one of the all-time great locks, with Springboks legend Victor Matfield likening him to his old partner in the engine room, the enforcer himself – Bakkies Botha.

“When they picked him ahead of some other experienced guys, I thought who is this guy, and he stepped up,” Matfield said at a URC Roundtable event this week.

“He had a really good Six Nations. He’s a fantastic ball carrier, he’s always in your face.

“When you have that one guy in your pack that you know everyone in the other pack looks at and thinks, ‘ah, do I want to take him on or take a step back?’ Then you’re really on the front foot.

“That’s what we always had with Bakkies Botha, it didn’t matter where we went, we always knew the other guys were thinking that when he was arriving at the ruck.”

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