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Fitzgerald joins queue to solve Ireland's problem out-half slot

Gloucester 26 Connacht 17

Jack Carty is struggling for form and that's a problem for Connacht and Ireland.

With Joey Carbery sidelined indefinitely and Johnny Sexton potentially out for a period with the knee injury he picked up on Saturday, the Athlone native is the only fit out-half from the World Cup squad and, thus, next in line if they miss the Six Nations opener.

But his performance at Kingsholm yesterday summed up his post-Japan issues as he created a try for John Porch, but made a series of errors and was hauled ashore after 52 minutes.

Conor Fitzgerald has emerged as a real rival to the 26-year-old and despite an early forward pass the youngster played with confidence.

Andy Friend needs to rest Carty in the coming weeks due to his Ireland status but he admitted after the game that he is under pressure for his starting spot.

And, if he's not playing for Connacht, then it opens the door for Ross Byrne, JJ Hanrahan and Billy Burns who are starting European games at the other provinces.

"Jack Carty, it's a very different situation for him this year," the coach said.

"Last year, he was the man. He was the bloke. He got himself an Irish cap, he's gone to the World Cup. He's come back and there's a young fella in Conor Fitzgerald who has stepped up."

Belfast Telegraph