When you put in the type of performance David Pocock delivered against Ireland last weekend, it becomes a little difficult to comprehend the Australian back-rower believed taking his one-year sabbatical from the game was something of a career risk.
If Ireland were under any illusions about how tough the defensive challenge that awaits them at Suncorp Stadium this morning will be in this opening Test against Australia, then listening to Wallabies captain Michael Hooper yesterday will have removed any doubt.
Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony has backed fly-half Joey Carbery to take the huge opportunity handed to the 22-year-old when he starts the first Test against Australia on Saturday morning.
ichael Cheika may not have envied Joe Schmidt the task of telling Johnny Sexton he would be watching tomorrow’s kick-off at Suncorp Stadium from the bench but the man who made the call had no hesitation in handing Joey Carbery Ireland’s No. 10 jersey.
Joe Schmidt described choosing the 32 players he will take to Australia next month as the most difficult process of his tenure as Ireland head coach but it is clear he has selected a squad with a series victory over the Wallabies at the top of his priority list.
Michael Conlan knows where his priorities lie and the Belfast native’s personal preparations for three more fights in 2017 will take priority ahead of any other potential distractions following his third paid victory in Brisbane over the weekend.