Johnny Sexton may be Ireland’s best place kicker, but the statistics suggest Connacht out-half Jack Carty is leading the chasing pack when it comes to success from the tee.
Carty is the only recognised Irish kicker to have broken the 100-point mark at the midway point of the season (116 points), while his 80.4% success rate when kicking at goal means he currently trumps Joey Carbery (78%), Billy Burns (76.5%), John Cooney (73.9%), JJ Hanrahan (73.9%) and Ross Byrne (71.1%), all of whom trail the almost perfect Sexton, who has only missed two kicks all season for Leinster (94.3%) in all competitions.
Carty was man of the match in the narrow loss to Leinster and the 26-year-old also performed well in last weekend’s victory against Ulster, with his head coach Andy Friend saying he has been seriously impressed with the Athlone native since his arrival.
“Jack Carty continues to impress with his vision in the game and his little touches,” said Friend.
“I had seen a bit of Jack play [before I took charge of Connacht]. You could see he was a quality footballer.
“I remember watching that Leinster game from last year, where he put that nice little kick in over the top to Tiernan [O’Halloran]. Tiernan caught it and passed inside. I could see Jacko was quality.”
While Carty has not officially been called into an Ireland squad under Joe Schmidt, he has featured in Carton House training camps, while he has also worked with Irish kicking coach Richie Murphy in recent months.
According to Friend, he has not asked Carty to change his game since he arrived.
Instead, his first-choice out-half has flourished due to hard work.
“There are two things with our environment. One is real clarity in what we are trying to do, and the other thing we are really focusing on this year is we will never play a perfect game, so don’t worry about the errors you make.
"We don’t want the errors, ideally, but you are going to make them.”
Friend will be hoping that Carty can dictate the game, as Connacht strive to back up their win over Ulster by defeating Munster at a packed Sportsground on Saturday.