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Ireland confident that 'calm' Jack Carty will step up against Japan

The 27-year-old has been handed a huge starting opportunity at the World Cup.

IT’S UNLIKELY THAT Jack Carty thought he’d be in this position a year ago, but Saturday will see him start a crucial World Cup game for Ireland at out-half.

His rise in recent times has been remarkable, to the point where both he and his Ireland team-mates are entirely calm about the Connacht man stepping up at 10 against hosts Japan as Johnny Sexton is given the weekend off.

jack-carty Carty at Ireland training in Shizuoka today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Joey Carbery returns from his ankle injury to occupy Ireland’s number 22 shirt, providing another strong out-half option but Carty is the main man.

Joe Schmidt and co. are convinced that the 27-year-old is more than ready to deliver as he wins his ninth Test cap.

The Ireland head coach said he told Carty of his start early this week to give him more time to get his head around it, and Schmidt is confident the Athlone man will step up.

“He came on and played really well against Scotland,” said Schmidt today in Shizuoka. “He put in a nice through ball for Chris Farrell to run on to when he was really under pressure, cleared our lines really well a couple of times when we had to come out of our own 22. The distance and angle of the kicks were spot on.

“He’s trained really well, so that gives us confidence and allows us to freshen guys up and work through a few combinations as we work our way through the pool.

“He’s very calm, he doesn’t get ruffled easily. He doesn’t get distracted by an error he might make or distracted by people trying to put pressure on him. He stays in the zone incredibly well.

“For us, with Jack, there’s a lot of confidence from the coaching staff and from the players as well.

jack-carty Carty's place-kicking has improved in recent seasons. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“So, the spectrum of skills he brings; I’ve mentioned his angled kicking game, I think he’s got a bit of a running game, he takes the ball to the line like he did against Wales and links up with the players. That’s another attacking threat he brings.

“Defensively, we’ve been really happy with the progress he’s made in Connacht in recent times and now with the national side.”

Conor Murray will be in the halfbacks with Carty on Saturday in Shizuoka and the Munster scrum-half has been similarly impressed since the Connacht playmaker made his debut in February of this year.

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“He’s quite a calm character, Jack, which is good to have outside you,” said Murray.  “Like anyone that comes into the set-up, there’s a pressure to learn and step up, and he’s responded really well to that.

“He’s got to grips with the way we play, the tactics and phase calls and what’s expected of him.

“That laid-back nature has aided him in coming into an environment like this and learning off the likes of Johnny and Joey, who is actually younger than him but has been around the set-up for a while.

“I’m excited to play with Jack. He takes it in his stride, he’s played really well any time he’s been given the chance, whether in the Six Nations or the summer series, coming over here and coming on last weekend he did really well.”

jack-carty-and-joey-carbery Carty and Joey Carbery training today. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It will, of course, be a major step up for Carty and his mental skills will naturally be tested in what is expected to be a very loud atmosphere at Ecopa Stadium, where the temperature is due to hit 28°C on Saturday.

The pressure will be big, but Ireland feel Carty is more than capable of handling it.

“International rugby is a pressure occasion for anyone, especially when you’re coming into a side where you’re new to the environment and you’ve heard from the outside what it’s like,” said defence coach Andy Farrell.

“All of a sudden, you’re in the mix and you either sink or swim, don’t you?

“With all the information you’ve been given that everyone is unbelievably comfortable with, I think Jack’s strength of character is one of not just his work ethic to get across his detail, but also being himself.

“That’s the most important thing. You want to see guys who are in pivotal positions being able to retain the information but also see the game as it is unfolding and he’s comfortable with doing that.”

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