Ireland's outgoing attacking coach, Mike Catt, has claimed that the best of Ireland's new outhalf, Jack Crowley, is still to come.
Crowley was tasked with replacing the excellent Johnny Sexton in Ireland's first test since the Rugby World Cup. Sexton retired, and the 10 jersey was left to the likes of Crowley, and the 17-38 win made it look like there would be no struggle to replace Sexton.
Crowley started slow but grew into the 17-38 win over France in Marseille. Crowley converted 1 of his 2 penalties and converted every one of his 5 conversions from tries in the game. He also had a hand in Tadhg Beirne's try in the first half.
Ireland play Italy this Sunday, and it's very likely that Crowley will keep the 10 jersey for the game in Dublin this weekend. Catt, who will depart this summer, believes that Crowley's display in Marseille is only the start of him showcasing his talents.
"We still haven't seen the best out of Jack; there's still a lot more to go, but it's not a bad start," said Catt in a press conference.
Fans would have been apprehensive about Crowley's start in the Stade Vélodrome last Friday evening after his blocked-down kick, a mis-hit crosskick, and an overhit grubber occurred, but he grew and grew throughout the game. Catt believes it came down to "poor execution" more than anything for Crowley.
Jack Crowley and his dad. Magic moments. 💚 pic.twitter.com/9QLgprwWoI
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) February 2, 2024
"It's more execution, really," said Catt. "The decision was right, but, for me, the question you're asking is, "Was it the right decision? Yes. So, why didn't we execute it properly?"
"It's about seeing it. He saw it, reacted to it, and put the kick in, but the kick wasn't accurate, so that sort of stuff is what we would go to.
"You find the solutions for it."
The Kiwi also admitted that he was impressed with Crowley's ability to get over his early mistakes. A trait that Andy Farrell has hammered home to the Ireland squad since he took over the squad in 2020.
"Yeah, that's it," he said. "It's something Andy has been driving over the past number of years.
"It's "don't get in the way of yourself; don't worry about it. It's gone."
"For a man with inexperience, to block it out like that is very good. Nothing fazes him, like a lot of the boys on the team."
Ireland's team for Italy will be announced on Friday. The game in Dublin will kick off at 3 p.m. on Sunday.