Jack Carty heads long list of deals Connacht must close

Connacht are set to renegotiate almost two dozen player contracts which are up at the end of the season
Jack Carty heads long list of deals Connacht must close

Jack Carty: Next appearance for Connacht will be his 150th for his native province.

Out-half Jack Carty will be top of the list as Connacht set about renegotiating almost two dozen player contracts which are up at the end of the season.

Carty is one of several frontline players whose current deals expire in a few months and with Andy Friend close to extending his stay at the Sportsground, the focus is going to switch to the playing front.

Carty is one of a number of internationals at the Sportsground whose contract will soon expire with the likes of prop Finlay Bealham and locks Ultan Dillane and Quinn Roux also due at the negotiating table.

Other frontline players like loosehead Denis Buckley, hooker Shane Delahunt, lock Gavin Thornbury, and back-rowers Paul Boyle and Conor Oliver will also see their current deals end in a few months.

A number of other players such as John Porch, Dave Heffernan, and the Fitzgerald brothers Conor and Stephen may also be coming close to renegotiation, but the length of their contracts was not clarified when their deals were signed.

Alex Wootton, who has scored seven tries in 10 appearances since the start of the campaign in October, is on loan for the season from Munster but Connacht are keen to make his stay at the Sportsground permanent.

Andy Friend and his coaching team will be keen to nail down all of their frontline players but Carty will top the bill.

They will be keeping an eye on Andy Farrell’s Six Nations squad announcement next week hoping that Carty gets the nod, as his inclusion might stave off temptation to try out somewhere else after this summer.

Carty won the last of his ten caps against Russia in the World Cup in Japan and while Farrell brought him into the extended squad back in October he did not feature in the resumed Six Nations.

150 not out

His next appearance for Connacht will be his 150th for his native province and his stunning display when scoring 25 points in the shock win over Leinster at the RDS earlier this month showed Carty at his best.

That was the first occasion he scored two tries in a game for Connacht and since he passed Ian Keatley’s haul of 685 points two years ago, he is the province’s second-highest scorer in history.

Carty has now amassed 857 points for Connacht but still has a bit to go before he challenges the 1,308 which Eric Elwood accumulated during his career.

Connacht have already nailed down key players such as Bundee Aki, Kieran Marmion, Jarrad Butler, Caolin Blade, Tom Daly, Tom Farrell, and Tiernan O’Halloran over the past year or more but the concern now is around the level of experience of the players due for contract renewals, with five of them having made more than 100 appearances.

Aside from Carty on 149 games, Buckley has played 190, Bealham 148 with Roux and Dillane on 106 each. Hooker Delahunt is on 88 while of the newer brigade, Boyle and Thornbury have 48 appearances each.

Meanwhile, Connacht will be hoping to bring a halt to poor home form this season when they take on Ospreys in the PRO14 on Sunday.

They have lost four of their six home matches this season at the Sportsground, including the last three to Munster, Ulster and Racing 92, but have managed to win three of their five away matches.

Their only successes in Galway this season have been against Glasgow Warriors and Benetton but with several players returning this weekend after Covid-19 outbreaks, they are hoping to chalk up their first home victory of 2021.

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