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'I'd be really hungry to get back in the squad and be starting for Ireland'

28-year-old Jack Carty is determined to add to his 10 Ireland caps.

Carty is hoping to push back into the Ireland squad.
Carty is hoping to push back into the Ireland squad.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

THERE WERE SEVERAL reminders of Jack Carty’s qualities last weekend as Connacht nearly caused an upset in Paris.

The right-to-left kick he stroked cross-field for Matt Healy’s try was a reminder that this talented sportsman was offered trials with soccer club Southampton when he was an Ireland U15 international in that code.

Or perhaps his quality touches with the boot and one dominant aerial against Racing 92 were reminders that Carty played for Roscommon in Gaelic football as a teenager.

Or maybe those moments, as well as one lovely offload and his 10 effective tackles, were just reminders that Carty is a very good rugby player, good enough to go to the World Cup with Ireland under Joe Schmidt last year and start the pool game against Japan.

Carty was also involved off the bench against Russia the following week, but he hasn’t played for Ireland since. 

He missed out on Six Nations selection earlier this year but was then called into Andy Farrell’s group for the postponed games against Italy and France in October, only to be omitted for the recent Autumn Nations Cup as Billy Burns got the nod ahead of him.

Naturally, it was tough for Carty when Farrell let him know.

“I suppose it was a surprise at the time,” says Carty. “I probably hadn’t trained as well as I would have liked but I suppose I was new to the set-up and trying to find my feet a bit.

jack-carty Carty was in the Ireland squad in October but was left out in November. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s one of those things. I was disappointed and surprised at the time but what can you do? There’s no point in resting on your laurels and moping, sulking around. It was disappointing for two or three days but after that, I brushed it off, had a word with the ego, and pushed on from there.”

Carty stresses that the competition for the number 10 shirt in Connacht from Conor Fitzgerald meant that he didn’t have any more time to feel sorry for himself.

Instead, he got the head down and re-started the process of convincing Farrell that he should be part of his Ireland plans.

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“It’s about kicking on now,” says the Athlone man. “I’d be really hungry to get back in the squad and be starting for Ireland, that’s ultimately what I want to be doing.

“I’m happy enough [with his form]. Obviously, I still need to polish up on a few things. I was happy before the end of the Six Nations, I was quite happy in the lead-up to that and that obviously didn’t go the way I wanted it to.

“I came back to Connacht and I feel that I’ve continued on, maybe a few dips and that, but the fact that the competition here between myself and Fitzy is quite fierce, that’s pushing me on.

“I’m happy with where I’m at. Defensively, that’s a huge thing for me and then being a threat at the line – they’re things I can continue to do and hopefully I can offer something different to what’s there currently.”

This Sunday’s clash with Bristol at the Sportsgound is another fine opportunity for Carty and Connacht to prove their quality.

jack-carty-with-wenceslaslauret Carty makes an offload against Racing. Source: Dave Winter/INPHO

Of course, there will be several familiar faces in the visiting coaching team in the form of Pat Lam, John Muldoon, and Conor McPhillips.

Carty’s analysis of Bristol has seen him recognise a few elements of the old times at Connacht, but he stresses that Lam and co. have also pushed their tactics on. 

“You can definitely see a couple of their maps that they run that we would have run, albeit probably under different names,” said Carty.

“But you can see a lot how it has evolved. A lot of their stuff they play off nine is quite different to how we would have played. Obviously, we would have played the 2-4-2 and they’ve gone away from that completely, it’s quite different.

“I know they might only play two runners off nine sometimes. Ultimately, it’s quite different. I’d say they focus a lot on their passing skills and their ability to run from depth, which is similar to us back in the day so there is some crossover.

“It will be interesting to see what the conditions are like because both teams have contrasting styles of rugby but the same in some rights.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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