Joe Schmidt’s decision to name Jack Carty in his Six Nations squad was a "brave call", according to Nigel Carolan.
The Connacht out-half usurped Leinster’s Ross Byrne, who won two caps in the November internationals, when he got the nod in the 38-man Ireland panel after a string of impressive performances for Connacht in the Challenge Cup and Pro14.
The Athlone man has scored 136 points in his 16 appearances so far this season.
Connacht’s attack coach Carolan, who signed a new deal with the province today, told RTÉ 2fm’s Game On: "It’s very pleasing for the likes of Jack and [scrum-half] Caolin Blade getting their first call-ups to the national side.
"I know very often selection is circumstantial but we believe in the players we have. Caolin, in particular, is a very under-rated player. Jack is a player who is bursting with confidence.
"The [winning try he got against Bordeaux] at the weekend, some people might have said it was a bit risky but Jack knew exactly what he was doing and even the pace to get under the sticks was remarkable."
Johnny Sexton, who hasn’t played since injuring his knee against Munster at the end of December, and in-form Joey Carbery sit ahead of 26-year-old Carty in the Ireland pecking order with a Six Nations opener against England on the horizon on 2 February.
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"He’s in a good space and he deserves to be where he is," added Carolan, a former Ireland Under-20 head coach.
"It was probably a brave call from Joe Schmidt but we believe in Jack, he’s been really really good for us.
"He’s a gentleman, all the kids that come to the games, he knows all their names.
"He’s bringing young guys into the dressing room [to meet the players]. He deserves everything he gets."