Question marks may remain over his hamstring ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Edinburgh but there is no doubting Joey Carbery’s allegiance to Munster with confirmation yesterday that the out-half has signed a two-year contract extension that will see him remain with the province until June 2022.
The 23-year-old out-half joined Munster on a two-year deal last summer and after settling in from the off now puts pen to paper for a further two years with the province. Scoring 143 points in 13 appearances, the young playmaker is the Champions Cup top-scorer so far this season with 68 points in the pool stages and he also leads the way in the Guinness PRO14’s Golden Boot standings with an 87% success rate off the tee.
On the international front, Carbery has made six appearances for Ireland this season to bring his international tally to 18 caps. A further positive sees head coach Johann van Graan boost his scrum-half options ahead of the World Cup period with Alby Mathewson remaining with the province until the end of November. Meanwhile, Paul O’Connell insists he has no plans to join another club “next season” following confirmation that he will leave Stade Francais in May.
In a statement, Stade Francais say it was decided by mutual agreement that O’Connell’s contract would not be extended into the 2019/20 campaign, and that the Munster legend “will always be considered a member of the Stade Français Paris family”.
O’Connell, who previously held a role with the Munster academy and then Ireland U20s, has been strongly linked with a position at Toulon.
“I have decided not to stay beyond my contract year with the club and do not plan to join another club next season either,” O’Connell said. “I had a great adventure at the Stade Français Paris. I am grateful to the club for the opportunity they gave me to live and work in Paris. I was delighted to be able to work alongside Heyneke Meyer, the staff and all the club’s players. Finally, I am looking forward to the end of the season and I hope to be able to help the club during the eventual finals of the Top 14.”
The Stade Francais statement added: “Stade Français Paris and Paul O’Connell are very happy with their time together and look forward to the challenges they will face until the end of the season. Paul O’Connell is and will always be considered a member of the Stade Français Paris family.”
Meanwhile, Eddie Jones has dismissed the role of Lions head coach as an “ambassador job” while refusing to rule out the possibility of succeeding Michael Cheika as Australia boss. Jones insists he has no interest in leading the elite of British and Irish rugby to South Africa in 2021, in the process taking a dig at Warren Gatland who was in charge of the previous two tours. Gatland recently masterminded his third Grand Slam with Wales and is favourite to continue in the post.
“The last thing I want to do is spend eight weeks in a blazer,” Jones told the Brisbane Courier Mail. That’s an ambassador job. I’m a coach. I’d rather coach the Queensland Sheffield Shield (cricket) team.”
Gatland is also favourite to replace Jones after this autumn’s World Cup when his reign as Wales boss ends. Beyond Japan 2019, Jones’ future is clouded in doubt despite a contract extension lasting until 2021 that is dependent on performance at the global showpiece. And the Australian has done nothing to clarify his position by keeping the door ajar to reprising a role he performed from 2001-05 when the World Cup is over. “I don’t think I would ever say ‘never’, but it’s not something I have really thought about,” Jones said.
“One thing Australia are not short of is talent. Cheika is in a good position. This could be his last hurrah and he’s got nothing to lose.”