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Connacht man Carty's rise brings him a World Cup start for Ireland

The 27-year-old Athlone man gets his chance to shine against Japan on Saturday.

JACK CARTY’S MIND operates at an extremely rare brainwave speed – known as Hertz by people who are much smarter than us.

The Connacht out-half’s sensory motor cortex runs at an incredible level of 12Hz, something that is more commonly associated with world-leading surgeons and artists.

Essentially, this is about how Carty’s brain takes in information about sensation in the world and sends a signal forward to the motor cortex.

jack-carty Carty will be Ireland's main man this weekend. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

99% of men of a similar age and brain health to Carty show nowhere near this brainwave level. Whether nature or nurture, it’s one of the reasons the 27-year-old excels at doing things like that delightful dinked kick through for Chris Farrell to regather in Ireland’s win over Scotland last weekend.

Now handed just his second Ireland start against Japan this Saturday, Carty will hope to add many more touches of that nature, as well as nailing his important job of tactically guiding Joe Schmidt’s team through what could be a tricky challenge against the hosts.

There is little doubt that this is the biggest game of Carty’s career. Just over seven months ago, the Athlone man wasn’t an Ireland international. Now he’s Ireland’s starting 10 for a huge World Cup clash in Shizuoka, where Japan will have fervent support.

The Connacht playmaker has always possessed real playing ability and a varied attacking skillset but he has truly started to realise his potential over the past two seasons, playing with a maturity and confidence that hadn’t always been present before.

After his Ireland debut in February against Italy, Carty revealed that he had been inspired to achieve greater things by his cousin, Brian, who sadly passed away in 2018.

“It was a thing in the last 11, 12 months where I put my head down,” said Carty after that Italy game. “I didn’t want it to be ‘what if?’ scenario.

“It’s coming up on a year since Brian passed away and before he passed away, he would have said, ‘Don’t have any regrets or anything like that.’ 

“That’s something that’s spurred me on.

“I’m delighted for my family but his family as well. It’s been a tough time for his family and my family. I’m delighted that I can dedicate this cap to him.”

jack-carty Carty came off the bench last weekend against Scotland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Carty has been voracious in his appetite for working hard since, putting a big effort into working on his mental skills, which he is also doing now at the World Cup with Ireland’s specialist in this area, Enda McNulty.

The Connacht man has also put a strong emphasis on his tackling, which had previously been a weakness, and anyone who watched Sunday’s win over Scotland would surely have once again been impressed with Carty’s seven solid tackles.

His goal-kicking has improved too – even in the difficult conditions of the Sportsground – and Carty has been pushed by Connacht boss Andy Friend to truly back his excellent tactical kicking, which has become a major weapon for the western province.

All the while, Carty – whose family are currently in Japan – has retained the creativity that has always been so enjoyable to watch. His armoury in this sense includes grubbers, chips, cross-field kicks, floated passes, offloads and his own darting linebreaks – making him difficult to defend against.

There will, of course, be major pressure on Carty in Johnny Sexton’s absence this weekend and his ninth cap will be the greatest test yet of his ability, but the Buccaneers and Marist College product has largely come through with flying colours in his eight caps so far.

Schmidt was disappointed with Carty’s showing off the bench in Ireland’s first World Cup warm-up game against Italy, when he made a handful of errors, but he has been highly impressive in several other outings.

The out-half made a positive impression in three replacement appearances during this year’s Six Nations, while he was strong in his first Test start against Wales in Cardiff in the warm-up series and shone off the bench last weekend too. 

Carty’s rise now brings him a World Cup start, although he will be keen to ensure this is not the peak and that greater achievements and involvements are ahead.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella  / Reports from Hamamatsu

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