Rising second-rower Joe McCarthy is relishing the prospect of competing with upcoming Springbok star RG Snyman for a place in Leinster’s first team.
The 22-year-old has continued his form from the recent Rugby World Cup and has undoubtedly been key to the Dubliners’ standout in recent weeks.
McCarthy came on from the bench in Ireland’s quarter-final loss to the All Blacks, but brought his performance back home.
man of the match
He was named man of the match in the 9-3 win over arch-rivals Munster and remains intact with a chance to start in the Six Nations.
However, the arrival of Snyman for the 2024/25 season will undoubtedly put his place in the big game under threat.
McCarthy is not overly concerned and the talented forward is delighted that the “class” South African will add depth and quality to his Leinster squad.
“Well, there’s a lot of competition now and he’s going to get even more competition, which is great,” he told reporters.
“It’s never good to be comfortable in your position. You always want to fight, that brings out the best in you.
“I’m sure it’ll be very exciting to watch because he’s a great player. Obviously it’s a long way off, but he’s a first-class player so he should add a lot.”
McCarthy has been one of Leinster’s star performers in recent weeks, outstanding both for his physicality and set-piece work.
However, there is still a lot of growth left in his game and the 22-year-old admits he has a lot to learn.
“Well, I’m trying to get better every week. I’m still very young, so I feel like I still need to improve,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to play a few games in a row and you get better by playing rugby a lot.Right now, I love playing so I want to keep playing as long as I can. I am.”
Praise from head coach
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen praised McCarthy not only for his performance on the field, but also for his approach and work ethic in training.
“Joe keeps getting better and better, but he works incredibly hard in all aspects of the game,” Cullen said.
“He’s a great guy to work with. So he’s only 22? He’s doing well.
“It was his type of game (against Munster), the kind of game where he gets in the trenches and gets himself in the way, which he loves!”
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