Ireland: Jack Carty all smiles as he looks to take Six Nations in his stride

Adam Kyriacou

Ireland and Connacht fly-half Jack Carty has revealed he is feeling a lot less pressure on his game as he approaches the upcoming Six Nations.

Carty, 29, could be in line for a place in the matchday squad in Ireland‘s opener against Wales next weekend, with his provincial form this season rewarded.

Should he feature it would be his first international minutes since the 2019 Rugby World Cup but he is not letting that opportunity to play weigh him down.

I have a smile on my face

“Initially when I did come back from the World Cup, my form wasn’t good enough to warrant selection,” he said.

“Previously I was so hell-bent on getting to that end goal that maybe off the field I was probably a disaster to be around at times.

“I think when I play best it’s when I have a smile on my face. If I can set up things off the field to be in a place where they need to be, it enables me to excel and do what I want on the pitch.

“When I was playing rugby for many years I probably looked like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, whereas now I really enjoy what I’m doing.

“I am enjoying this new environment, it’s been brilliant, the lads have been really welcoming.”

Carty, who is with Ireland at a pre-tournament training camp in Portugal, won each of his previous 10 caps in 2019 under former head coach Joe Schmidt.

He received a late call-up from Farrell in November after Johnny Sexton was ruled out of Ireland’s final autumn international but did not make the match-day squad for the win over Argentina.

Ireland begin the Six Nations next Saturday at home to defending champions Wales.

Carty, who accepts dislodging influential skipper Sexton will be a big challenge, does not believe he has anything to prove.

“I don’t think so, definitely not to myself anyway,” he said.

“The narrative up until now has probably been since the World Cup and it would be nice to maybe close that chapter, if I get on the field. It’s been a long journey, up and down.

“Every player goes through periods of their career where there are periods of non-selection and I think it’s about how you learn from that.

“I think I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s great to be back in the set-up and hopefully the next couple of weeks are good to me.”

Ireland won plenty of plaudits for their performances during the autumn, which included victory over New Zealand en route to stretching their winning run to eight games.

Speaking about the competition for places, Carty added: “Johnny’s been there, he’s done that, he’s captain, so I think if and when he’s fit he will be starting.

“For me, it’s about if the opportunity does come I need to have the confidence and authority around me that Johnny gives, that will give confidence then to all of the other players.

“A lot of things that we’re trying to do in Connacht – there are obviously things that are different – but the key principles part is definitely something similar to how we are trying to play here.”

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