Injury may have diluted Joey Carbery's first year with Munster but the province's out-half believes the time he did manage to bank as the starting ten will stand him in good stead as he targets the upcoming World Cup.
A high-profile arrival from Leinster, with whom he had won the Champions Cup and PRO14 in his last season, Carbery was frustrated at times by injury which stymied the back end of the season and Munster's European ambitions in particular.
But the Athy man, who reported for World Cup warm-up duties with the rest of the Ireland squad just under two weeks ago, has declared himself to be fit and ready for the long road to Japan that lies ahead.
“Yeah, it’s been pretty good,” he said of his fitness. “I didn’t get to play too much rugby at the end of the season last year (season) but got fit in the (PRO14) semi-final. Hamstring felt perfect throughout that, which was great.
“Pretty much just trying to get back to peak fitness again. It’s been good. Training over the last week-and-a-half has been pretty tough but it’s been good. The body has held up pretty well so I’m pretty happy with that.”
Carbery will travel to the Far East with a dual purpose however. Though Sexton's de facto understudy, he will also be expected to know how to recite the lines at full-back where he has featured prominently for club and country in the past.
But it is at ten where his currency as a fail safe will be most valued given the memories Joe Schmidt will still harbour of Sexton's injury at the 2015 World Cup and Ian Madigan's inexperience as a Test out-half.
Carbery featured 15 times for Munster last season and scored over 150 points in the process. That experience, in terms of game management and pressurised place-kicking, may be invaluable in Asia.
“It’s always great for the confidence, having played a lot more minutes in higher games at ten, so for me I felt last season was a great learning curve.