Stuart Lancaster Has His Say On Joey Carbery’s Proposed Move To Ulster

“It’s about what’s right for the player.”

Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster may be preparing for one of the biggest weeks of his coaching career, with the Irish province set take on Racing in the Champions Cup final, but once again the future of one of his brightest starts has been cast into the spotlight.

Lancaster has been heralded for his work with some of the younger players since he arrived in Ireland. In fact – if you ask a lot of people in England, he deserves a lot more credit for some of the players he nurtured and brought through there too.

That being said – he’s got plenty of experience when it comes to dealing with the situation Ireland, Leinster and more importantly – Joey Carbery, find themselves in right now. And as far as he is concerned, it’s about what’s right for the player, not the club, or even the national body.

“I’ve been involved in this sort of situation quite a few times in England in my role, not just as an England coach but also in charge of the academies,” Lancaster explained at yesterday’s press conference.

“Often you’ll get a situation where maybe a player is sat and there’s a decision to make: is this the right thing to do, is it right to go to an U20 World Cup? Is it right to have an off-season?

“My view has always been, and still is, you do what’s right for the player. You put the player at the centre of the decision, so you don’t do anything other than that. If one party thinks this and another party thinks that, it’s about what’s right for the player.

He also reckons it isn’t anyone’s fault that Carbery hasn’t got the game time at ten this season that everyone would have liked. He says the player has had a number of injuries, but has still ‘developed brilliantly’  at Leinster. And he most definitely wants him to stay.

“I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault that Joey hasn’t played as much this year as everyone would have liked. You look at the injury at the start of pre-season and you look at the injury in the Fiji game that pretty much ruled him out of a whole chunk of time, and obviously the Six Nations came.

“In my view, Joey has developed brilliantly here. He’s a fantastic player and I wouldn’t want him to leave.”

But at the end of the day – Lancaster believes the decision should rest with the player. If he feels moving is the best option then so be it, but the same can be said if he decides he wants to stay and fight for his place.

“It’s my belief as well, not my understanding, my belief that the player should make the decision, because at the end of the day, if you’re ever in this position, then you put the player at the centre and do what’s right for the player,” Lancaster continued.

“If the player feels it’s the right thing to do, then everyone is going to respect that decision. If the player feels that the right thing to do is to stay and develop at Leinster alongside the other players who he’s worked with and grown up with, then I think that’s going to be his call.

Bottom line is Lancaster wants both players to stay and is confident they will continue to develop at Leinster. But once again – the final decision should be made by the player only.

“I think people have obviously spoken to both Ross and Joey to give their point of view, but then ultimately it’s down to the player to make that decision and that’s the way I see it.

“I think Joey is a great player, he’s played at 15 and at 10 for us and he would have played more at 10 if he hadn’t been injured.

“I’ve not been privy to what conversations have been had with the players. But we’ve got to ask the question, is it right for a player to move at this point and who is going to benefit? Because it’s a massive decision to move a player away from his family and friends and away from the network which has supported him in his development.

“I’m always of the view that development takes its own course and things happen sometimes and I think I spoke this time last year, you asked me about Joey and if he is a 10 or a 15, and I look at Beauden Barrett and I still think the same.

“I look at Joey and the comparisons are so prevalent for me and I don’t think we should change the course of someone’s direction unless it’s in the interests of the player first and foremost.”

“Personally, my view, I want to keep working with Joey at Leinster,” he adds.