To say the LA Giltinis need help at ten is no surprise. To say where that long need help is coming from might be.
LA’s Round 16 lineup includes a return to the 23 for Eagle Luke Carty. The younger brother of Ireland international Jack Carty has spent the year sidelined with a pectoral injury. Slotted for the 23 jersey, Carty will start on the bench. Scrumhalf Harrison Goddard will maintain his starting spot in the ten jersey. Tas Smith will start at nine, while reserve 9 Rodriguez sits on the bench.
How the LA coaching staff will handle substitutes is something to watch. The natural inclination would be to pull Smith later in the game, slide Goddard back to his natural 9, and slot Carty into 10. However, the presence of Rodriguez on the bench is curious. Depending on results, Goddard could be due for a rest, leading Rodriguez and Carty to come on together.
LA had been teasing a potential star acquisition in recent days with posts of Wallabies flyhalf Quade Cooper in Giltinis gear. Cooper’s season in Japan ended earlier than expected when his side missed the playoffs of League One. However, recent postings have indicated Cooper is in town to work with the side in a quasi-coach capacity and not a signing. He’s expected to return to Australia and lead the Wallabies in their test series against England in July.
Carty’s performance will be of special interest to Eagles’ coach Gary Gold. With AJ MacGinty cemented in the starting 10 jersey, the spots behind him on the depth chart remain fluid. Will Magie and Will Hooley are likely to be on the extended roster for the July World Cup qualifiers, while Carty would normally be in contention for playing time as well. If Carty cannot quickly return to form, he’ll likely be sidelined throughout the July test window.