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'Jack is impossible to ruffle' - Connacht's Carty set for Ireland debut in Rome

The 26-year-old has been sublime for his province this season.

Murray Kinsella reports from Stadio Olimpico

AGAINST THE CHEETAHS last week, Jack Carty brought to bear all of the notable improvements he has made in his out-half play over the past two years.

The creativity is still to the fore, with flat passes, daring offloads, chip attempts and his other clever attacking kicks.

But there is a steelier side to Carty now at the age of 26. 

Jack Carty Carty in Rome this afternoon. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

His tactical kicking was masterful last weekend as he used the familiar elements of the Sportsground to his advantage to manufacture spectacular distance on a couple of touch-finders.

Defensively, Carty contributed importantly too. In the past, his tackling has been a weakness but this Connacht win saw the out-half making strip turnovers and preventing a near-certain Cheetahs try with an intelligent intercept of what would have been the scoring pass.

Of course, none of this came as a surprise to those who have been watching Carty this season, with his confidence flowing to new heights under Connacht boss Andy Friend.

Joe Schmidt has been among those observing Carty in detail and, with Joey Carbery’s hamstring injury opening the door, Schmidt is ready to hand the Athlone man his Ireland debut off the bench against Italy in Rome tomorrow.

“It’s great to have new guys coming in all the time,” said stand-in Ireland skipper Peter O’Mahony after his side’s captain’s run at Stadio Olimpico.

“Jack’s been playing incredibly well for Connacht and it’s important guys are ready to go because you see guys taking knocks, you need big strength in depth in squads.

“He’s been playing incredibly well in Connacht. Playing against him and it’s a privilege training with him now in Irish camp, you know his standards are incredibly high.

“His organisational skills are superb and he’s been great since he came at the start of this campaign, it’s great to see guys getting in a getting a shot.”

Jack Carty Carty at Ireland training yesterday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Those who knew Carty as a youngster would have predicted great things for him eventually, although it was unclear whether they would come in football, soccer or rugby.

He played soccer for Ireland at U15 and U16 levels and was offered trials by Southampton, while he captained Roscommon to a Connacht U16 football title and even played an All-Ireland quarter-final at minor level.

But rugby with Buccaneers and Marist College was his true love and, having first been capped in the Connacht senior team in 2012, he has grown into a key man for his native province.

Now, he will look to add his talents to the Test stage and will be hopeful of a decent run off the bench at Stadio Olimpico.

Ireland boss Schmidt is expecting him to show composure if called upon.

“Jack is impossible to ruffle,” said Schmidt. “We tried to put some pressure on him at training, it doesn’t mean that it’s all been seamless and gone perfectly, but if something does go wrong, he gets it right next time.

“His ability to absorb information, to slot into the team, all those things have been really first-rate. 

“He went back to Connacht last week and I thought he was really good for them.”

Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey look ahead to Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with Italy and discuss the week’s biggest stories in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Murray Kinsella

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