We managed to grab a word with October's 15 Under 23 MVP of the Month, Joe Carpenter of Sale Sharks to see how he felt after winning the award...
Congratulations Joe, how does it feel to have won an award that the fans have voted for?
It’s amazing, especially to say that it’s been my first six games and the first couple of weeks have been surreal. I’m just trying to carry it on, so for the fans to vote for it and appreciate what I've done over the past six games it means a lot.
How nice is it that there is an award targeting the younger players aged 23 and under?
It gives us all something to strive for. We all want to get that Premiership debut and kick on from it, and for there to be an award aimed at us younger players means a lot.
What a month it’s been for you, making your Premiership debut…. Tell us what has it been like?
It’s been pretty surreal. It's kind of flown by. I said the other day to one of my mates it feels like only a couple of weeks ago I played my first game and now we're six games in. The weeks seem to be flying by at the minute with games every week. We’ve got a week off now, which will probably feel like a lifetime, but I’m loving every minute of it.
Is there one moment that stands out for you in the last month?
I think it would probably be the try on my debut. Everyone wants to and dreams of scoring on their debut and scoring the first game for Sale, or whoever they play for, and to make that happen was special, especially as it was the winner for the lads too.
What is it like at the club at the moment, it seems like there is a good buzz going around at the moment, with a good group of youngsters coming through and experienced players?
There is a good buzz going on absolutely. With everything going on with the Premiership currently, the young boys and the younger lads at the club are having to step up massively and I think at Sale, we’ve got a great balance between the young lads coming through and pushing the older lads and the older lads giving advice and helping the young lads out where they can.
You’ve got George Ford, who’s not playing but he’s always speaking to the whole team, to the backs, to individuals – trying to make us better.
It’s a real good dynamic and everyone is really getting on. We had a great start winning those first five games, and then we had two toughies which fell the other way, but after the win at the weekend against Gloucester, we are back on the horse now. We have a week off, and then we can play Bristol in a few weeks and lead into Europe quite nicely.
What’s it like learning off the players around you; are you picking up bits from their game and taking it into your game?
It’s great like I said, you’ve got George, and then players like Jason Woodward, who is probably looking to play as well, but he’s always pulling me aside, giving me tips. Even Luke James, I know he is injured now, but after most games, he is mentioning something that happened that I could have done slightly better or saying something I could have done well.
What are your personal aims for the remainder of the season?
For me, to be honest, it’s about getting better each game. I don’t have a massive long-term goal. Obviously, there is England – that is something everyone dreams of, but at the minute it's not really at the forefront of my mind because it's only been my first six games. It's the start of my Premiership career, so for me it's getting better each week, keep learning and fight to stay in that full back shirt and remain in the side.