Nick McCarthy knew he would have a battle on his hands for game-time when he left Leinster for Munster during the season, but it’s a task he is fired-up for as he becomes the latest to make the journey south from the arch-rivals.
The emergence of Irish U-20 scrum-half Craig Casey has cranked up the competition for the No.9 jersey with Munster, although with former All Black Alby Mathewson bringing his 15-month spell with the Reds to an end at the end of November, there is one less in the hunt.
McCarthy knows that himself, Casey, Neil Cronin and Jack Stafford are, in reality, battling for the replacement scrum-half position behind Conor Murray but he’s pleased with the progress so far.
“I chatted to Joey (Carbery) before coming down and I chatted to Andrew Conway as well and they both had only positives things to say and that made the decision much easier.”
“It has worked out well for a couple of lads, so when the offer came about I guess I had to weigh up whether I maybe would potentially get a bit more opportunity down here and so far I have played a few games and I have really enjoyed it.”
“It is much easier when you know a couple of people down here already and as I said already I played Irish U20s with a good few of the lads, so it has been a very easy transition.“There is unbelievable competition here and once Conor comes back in, there is probably only one spot really for a good few scrum-halves, so any game time anyone gets is so important to put your hand up for selection.”
“Conor (Murray) is always going to be in the picture, so it is just about being as good as you can, pushing him as well. If we are all pushing each other we are all going to get better, so it is important.”
McCarthy is hoping to lay down another marker tomorrow (SAT) when they travel to play Cardiff Blues, with the first of the derby games coming next week against Ulster before they head into Europe.
The 24-year old, who made 36 appearances for Leinster before making the switch, said he is enjoying his new environment and coaches and has linked up well with new senior coach Stephen Larkham.
“He has been great so far. He came in four weeks into pre-season and the squad has been working really well with him, his attacking detail is unbelievable and he has a lot of experience working with the Wallabies and that, so it has been great so far, I have learned a lot off of him already.”
“I have started two games this season already and once I am playing I think I will be happy with the decision (to move).”I really enjoyed the trip to South Africa, I know we only came away with one win, but again for me, it was really important to integrate with the squad, so it was great,”
Nick McCarthy was speaking at the LifeStyle Sports outlet in Dooradoyle, Limerick where it was announced that Life Style Sports, the exclusive retail partner of Munster Rugby, will donate €5 from every Munster jersey sold in Life Style Sports stores and online in the build-up to Christmas to Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation, one of Munster Rugby’s official charity partners.