But head coach Pat Lam has issued a rallying call to his side, urging them to defy the loss of their star man and reach the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition.
Lam’s outfit host Zebre on Saturday and visit Toulouse eight days later as they remain in the hunt to make it out of Pool 2. But after Carty and flanker Jake Heenan joined Connacht’s walking wounded at the Liberty Stadium, their resources are now stretched more than ever.
Captain John Muldoon missed Saturday’s game at the Liberty Stadium with a hamstring problem and both Carty and Heenan limped off in the first half.
The former was initially feared to have suffered severe knee ligament damage and although Lam allayed those concerns, Carty is likely to miss the meeting with Zebre.
“We’re excited by the opportunity in Europe but we need to see what the injury situation is and reassess. We’ll know in the next 24 to 48 hours how the guys are,” Lam said.
“We need to dust ourselves off, park the PRO12 and we’ve got two massive games to try and get little Connacht into the last eight of the Champions Cup. If we can do that — and we have a genuine chance in these two games — that would be massive for us. The next two weeks will determine whether we can achieve that goal or not.”
Carty will have a scan to determine the extent of his knee problem this week but in the 24-year-old’s absence — he limped off after half an hour — his team were comfortably brushed aside in Swansea.
Replacement scrum-half Caolin Blade was forced to step in for Carty at 10 and wing Danie Poolman ended the game at centre as Connacht were dealt a rough hand. But there was still no denying the Ospreys deserved to come out on top. The Welsh region played some superb rugby and scored tries through Dan Baker, Olly Cracknell, Nicky Smith and Ashley Beck. Young out-half Sam Davies added three conversions and a penalty. Sean O’Brien grabbed Connacht’s consolation but their chances of finishing in the top six are now slim. “The minimum we want is to be in next season’s Champions Cup, but it makes it very difficult when you lose your seven and your 10,” Lam said.
Tries: Baker, Cracknell, Smith, Beck; Cons: Davies 3; Pen: Davies
Try: O’Brien; Con: Cooney
Evans; Howells (Biggar 72), Beck, Matavesi (Fonatia 66), Dirksen; Davies, Habberfield (Leonard 65); Smith (Thomas 65) Parry (Otten 66), Fia (Jones 57), Ashley (Beard 73), Jones (capt), Cracknell (Underhill 65), Tipuric, Baker
O’Halloran; Adeolokun, Parata, Robb (Poolman 41), Healy (Gaffney 78); Carty (Blade 31), Cooney; Buckley (Cooney 66), McCartney (Heffernan 55), Bealham (Andress 66), Roux (Stevenson 66), Cannon, O’Brien, Heenan (McKeon 12), Dawai
John Lacey (IRFU).