Cape Town - Ireland assistant coach Ronan O'Gara has spoken highly of young flyhalf Joey Carbery ahead of the match against the USA.
Carbery will make his first Test start for Ireland on Saturday after impressing last year in the win over New Zealand, before enjoying a strong season domestically with Leinster.
O'Gara, the Racing 92 coach, is spending time with Ireland for their June Tests and has been impressed with Carbery's composure on the ball, going as far as comparing him to the current World Rugby Player of the Year.
“It’s probably a big statement but he could progress along the lines of Beauden Barrett,” O'Gara told The Irish Times.
“I think he has that different... I suppose it’s a little bit about growing up in New Zealand and being really comfortable on the ball. He gets excited on the ball, while a lot of people panic; he’s the complete opposite, he kicks into turbo mode.
“I think he has all the attributes. He’s 21, isn’t he?
“I think he’s the kind of player that the more difficult the scenario or picture in front of him the better solution he finds.
“He’ll find in test rugby he just has to play the other guys around him. But his capacity to learn – well, it’s not surprising when you have talent at that age and he has the application to get better. He has that in his drawer as well.
“It’s a case of when you play in Ireland and it’s wet you need that kick but his restarts are really good. He could add a lot to a team on that alone. He has big levers – the length of his legs, the capacity to kick through the ball.”
Ireland after facing the USA head to Japan for two Test matches in Shizuoka and Tokyo.