What does Jack Carty have to do to get back in the Ireland squad?
Two years out from the 2023 World Cup, few could have predicted that we wouldn't be much closer to finding Johnny Sexton's obvious successor in the Ireland number '10' jersey.
This week, Sexton made noises that would suggest that he sees himself still leading Ireland into that competition. That may be no bad thing if he is still on top form, although it is a risky strategy when you consider that the Leinster man will be 38-years old by the time the tournament in France kicks off.
Considering that, it may have been a good idea to test out different options in this year's autumn internationals. Sexton has been joined in the squad by Harry Byrne and Joey Carbery, although you'd imagine that it is highly likely that Sexton will be the one to take to the pitch for the game against New Zealand on November 13th.
Andy Farrell's Jack Carty Treatment
One man that has certainly been overlooked as an option is Jack Carty.
The Connacht man has been in the form of his life in recent weeks, but that hasn't been enough to earn him a first Ireland cap since the 2019 World Cup. Bernard Jackman believes not bringing him into the fold could be a mistake.
Speaking on the RTÉ Rugby Podcast, the former Ireland hooker said that he is unconvinced by Andy Farrell's Sexton succession plan, with Carty's absence from the squad a prime example of the issues it presents.
If Johnny's going to go to to the World Cup and it looks at the moment like he probably will, is Harry Byrne going to get enough games?
Plus, Harry Byrne's robustness is a question mark to clearly be the next guy, and you've also got Joey [Carbery] there. Effectively you have doubts about Joey and Harry.
That's maybe why Jack Carty who is fit and ready to go and on form might have been a nice guy to have in the squad...
I think Jack Carty has been very harshly punished or treated for the Japan defeat in the World Cup. It's not as if there's any player at international level even outside Ireland who hasn't had a bad day.
It's how they develop from that and I think Carty looks to be more mature, a stronger leader, exactly what Ireland need...
The fact that Carty looks to have developed that side of his game should be a bonus, and it's definitely not part of Joey's game, Joey's more instinctive. Harry may have it, but it's not proven at this level, he's probably in there because of his talent as a passer and a footballer.
It's a big gamble, I think. Realistically you could say we'd could come out of November not in any way closer to knowing what that depth chart behind Sexton is, who is clearly number one.
That's not really good planning.
Joey Carbery's injury record is a concern, and while Harry Byrne is an immensely talented player, he still has plenty to prove at the top level before we can be certain that he is the man to take over from Sexton.
Considering the pair mentioned above are 22 and 25-years old respectively, bringing the more experienced Jack Carty into the fold may be no bad for Andy Farrell.