In-form Connacht out half braced for tough challenge from English Premiership outfit

Connacht out half Jack Carty takes on the Munster cover during Saturday's PRO14 encounter at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.
Connacht out half Jack Carty takes on the Munster cover during Saturday's PRO14 encounter at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

CONNACHT out-half Jack Carty, who this week signed a two-year contract extension with the province, says his side must have “real clarity” in what they are doing when they face in-form English Premiership outfit, Sale Sharks, in their European Challenge Cup tie at the Sportsground on Saturday (3pm).

With Sale coming off the back of victories over Bristol, Gloucester and, most impressively, Saracens last weekend, Carty and his Connacht team-mates will be on their guard when Sale come calling for this weekend’s top of the table clash.

Indeed, the Roscommon native says a scroll down Sale’s team-sheet throws up some big names, such as Australian fly-half James O’Connor and South African scrum-half Faf de Klerk, who was shortlisted for the World Player of the Year alongside eventual winner, Johnny Sexton.

Indeed, de Klerk’s contribution has been identified as one of the reasons why Sale have only lost one of their last six games and Carty says he would love to have a crack at the high-profile star. “It would be nice to play against him but, look, they have quality all over the pitch.

“They have English internationals in the Currys (Tom and Ben) and this is going to be a real test for us – as the weekend gone was. So, it is just about having real clarity in what we are trying to do. To, obviously, be aware of their individual threats and then try to play our game as much as we can.”

For Connacht’s part, they must regroup after a disappointing loss to Munster in the PRO14 last weekend – their second defeat in the three-game inter-pro series over the festive season. Carty, though, insists the process doesn’t alter from fixture-to-fixture but he admits the change of emphasis is welcome after a gruelling Christmas schedule.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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