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Jack Carty gets his reward for 'not giving up' on Ireland dream

Andy Farrell has been impressed with how the out-half has responded to his feedback this season.

Connacht out-half Jack Carty.
Connacht out-half Jack Carty.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

ANDY FARRELL HAS praised Jack Carty’s mindset after the Connacht out-half played his way back into the Ireland squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

Carty has 10 Test caps to his name, but hasn’t represented Ireland since the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Having suffered a dip in form following his return from that tournament, Carty entered a period of international exile as other out-halves skipped ahead of him in the pecking order.

However the 29-year-old showed some encouraging flashes of form last season and has kicked on again this year, delivering on a more consistent basis and playing some of his best rugby in helping Connacht reach the knockout stages of the Champions Cup for the first time.

Having attracted interest from overseas clubs during that time, Carty instead committed to Connacht and backed himself to play his way into Farrell’s plans.

And after been called into the Ireland squad ahead of the November win over Argentina, Carty will now challenge Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery for gametime during the Six Nations, and Farrell says his selection is down to the player showing a positive mindset and impressive work ethic.

“Obviously over the course of Jack not playing for Ireland, we had kept in touch and given him feedback,” Farrell explained, speaking at yesterday’s Guinness Six Nations launch.

It’s great to see Jack dust himself down, take things on board and knuckle down and have the courage to adapt and add to his game etc. The way that Connacht are playing certainly helps him do that. 

“I think he’s been pretty brave in keeping his head down and pushing and not giving up. He’s got his rewards for that.”

Carty has shone at the heart of Connacht’s new-look gameplan this season, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed that Andy Friend’s side strive to play a similar style of rugby to the one Ireland produced in beating Japan, New Zealand and Argentina last November, suggesting the out-half should slot easily into Farrell’s system. 

Everything is a little bit different, but yeah… His game management has always been strong, ball in hand has certainly come on a lot – he’s always been a good, aggressive defender but the game control is something that is a point of difference for him, playing with ball in hand, playing at the line and taking guys with him and staying connected has certainly come on a treat.”

With an in-form Johnny Sexton on board and Joey Carbery reportedly fit and firing after his latest injury setback, Ireland’s depth at out-half looks in good shape heading into the championship.

However, perhaps the strongest area in Farrell’s squad is the formidable front-row combination of Andrew Porter, Rónan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong.

The all-Leinster trio represent one of the most dynamic and powerful front-row units around at the moment, and Farrell admits their growing cohesion has been a joy to watch. 

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“It’s there for all to see how they play the game. All three of them can play 80 minutes, which is pretty rare in the modern day game. Playing the 80 minutes at the standard that they bring, week in, week out, is phenomenal to see. 

“Do you know what? The thing is there are people that are pushing them as well and they realise that and we’re very grateful to have nine frontrow guys that are in our camp with us and they’ll be pushing every single day to push the standards on for all the group.”

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Ciarán Kennedy

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