CONNACHT COACH PAT Lam has given 21-year-old out-half Jack Carty a shock first start for Connacht in tomorrow’s Pro12 derby with Leinster in Galway.
The Buccaneers man is in his third year in the Connacht academy and has earned international honours up to under 20 level as well as making three substitute appearances for his province.
With Dan Parks on the bench, Carty is part of an all-Irish back-line which includes Robbie Henshaw and Eoin Griffin partnered in midfield with Darragh Leader named at fullback.
“Jack has been involved with us in training all year,” says Lam, “and has had some good performances with the Eagles.
“It is a great boost to his development as a young Irish qualified 10 to play against such quality opposition and I know he is very much looking forward to the test.”
Andre Browne will win his 100th cap for the western province in the back-row alongside John Muldoon and Eoin McKeon. Craig Clarke captains the side from the second row.
Leinster, meanwhile, have recalled some of their international big guns as Rob Kearney, Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip come back into the side.
Heaslip captains the side amid ongoing speculation that his time in Ireland could be limited. His return to number eight means Jordi Murphy is moved to openside flanker at the expense od Dominic Ryan.
Connacht: D Leader, F Carr, R Henshaw, E Griffin, M Healy, J Carty, K Marmion: B Wilkinson, J Harris-Wright, N White; M kearney, C Clarke (Captain.), A Browne, J Muldoon, E McKeon
Replacements: D Heffernan, D Buckley, R Ah You, M Swift, G Naoupu, P O’Donohoe, D Parks, T O’Halloran.
Leinster: R Kearney, Z Kirchner, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald, I Madigan; E Reddan: J Mcgrath, S Cronin, M Moore, D Toner, T Denton, R Ruddock, J Murphy, J Heaslip (Captain).
Replacements: A Dundon, J O’Connell, M Ross, M McCarthy, D Ryan, I Boss, J Gopperth, D Kearney.