Get to know the No 9 who has been impressing for the Irish province
Munster scrum-half Craig Casey
When did you first play rugby?
When I was four, with Shannon RFC. My dad was coaching the club at the time and my uncle was playing for them.
What other sports did you play growing up?
I played soccer up until U14s at a high level. I also played Gaelic football and a small bit of hurling.
What positions have you played?
I’ve always really been a scrum-half but underage I played out-half and full-back.
Any childhood heroes?
Peter Stringer was someone I looked up to. He was the scrum-half for Munster and Ireland, won trophies with both. That’s something I’ve always wanted to emulate.
Growing up I also had my uncle, Mossy Lawler, who was playing for Munster. He was always able to give me a helping hand. Then as I got a bit older I started studying a lot of Aaron Smith’s games; he’s someone I try to take a lot from.
What age-grade honours do you have?
I was lucky enough to captain Irish U18 Schools and Munster U19, which were great honours. For me, the biggest achievement in age-grade rugby was winning the U20 Six Nations Grand Slam.
What are the strengths of your game?
I definitely feel my points of difference are my passing and my competitiveness. I hate losing in absolutely anything.
I’m looking to improve everything. Key focus points for me are developing my kicking in all aspects.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
My father. He coached me up until U15 with Shannon, then went on to coach me in schools rugby. He’s played a huge role in my development. Even now he’s a great person to be able to have conversations with, where he can give me honest feedback on games.
What are your goals for 2021?
I’ve always wanted to get to the highest level. I definitely want to win trophies with Munster. I’d love to be involved in Irish camps, get a few caps and see where that takes me.
RW Verdict: Casey has been in the Munster system since he was 16. He may not be the biggest – 5ft 5in and a little under 12st – but he excels at the basics. He provides plenty of tempo, is getting game time at Munster and could be Ireland’s next-generation nine.
This article originally appeared in the January 2021 edition of Rugby World magazine.
Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.