‘We probably didn’t expect to get such a high score’



Rookie second row Joe McCarthy was named Ireland’s men of the match after a resounding 38-17 win over France in the opening match of the 2024 Guinness Six Nations.

It was performance that helps copper fasten the growing reputation of player who is being talked about in Irish rugby circles as a potential generational talent at lock. And it looks like he already as a nickname that is sticking, with the rather unoriginal moniker ‘Big Joe’ already being used by Irish broadcasters when referring to the 6’6, 119kg lock.

McCarthy told ITV Sport: “I’m very happy, it’s never easy away in France, we probably didn’t expect to get such a high score but we’re really happy, the atmosphere was mental, everyone really dug in and it was fantastic team form.

“Our set-piece went well, we won our lineout ball, got a good strike off that, we were in sync as a team and everyone kind of played their parts.

Jack Crowley kicked 13 points in his first Six Nations start and McCarthy said of the Ireland fly-half: “He’s an absolute baller. He’s such a competitor, great man to lead the group, a great fella. Tonight he played unbelievable, he just drove us around the pitch.”

Ireland never trailed after earning an early lead but McCarthy said of their opponents: “France are never dead.

“You can see they get a few scores there and choke the ball and make something out of nothing, so we have to focus and stay on them every play and keep going after them.”

additional reporting PA





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