Carty urges Connacht to respond
The nature of Saturday's last-gasp loss to Leinster would have lingered well into yesterday's Christmas dinner for the Connacht players, but out-half Jack Carty wants to see a response against Ulster on Friday.
The out-half was superb at the RDS as the Westerners put themselves in prime position to claim a win away to their big rivals for the first time since 2002.
Yet they weren't able to hang on to the result as the European champions came strong at the end, with Andrew Porter breaking Connacht hearts in a thrilling finish.
All is not lost for Andy Friend's team, who are well in the hunt for a play-off berth and a place in next year's Heineken Champions Cup.
And Carty sees Friday's game against Ulster at the Sportsground as a perfect chance to confirm their credentials.
"Yeah, it is," he said. "when we went over to South Africa we said if we lost those two games our season would be very tough to get out of there, if we won one we'd be there or thereabouts, and if we won two we'd be right in the hunt.
"We won the two, (Leinster) was a target to win all three, we fell short, but now we have to win our two homes games against Ulster next week and Munster the week after.
"They'll come fully loaded. We have to recuperate from Saturday, look what we can do from those last 15 minutes, and take the positives from the first 65."
International Rugby Newsletter
While Carty can be happy with his own superb try and his role in one or two of the other Connacht scores, he wasn't getting carried away and sees room for improvement in his own game.
"The kick space... Leinster leave a little bit of space in the middle. They cover both touchlines there and I just kind of saw space behind the ruck," he said of the score.
"If you look in the second half, I actually did another one, which was quite silly. I did one on the 40-metre line when we probably had back-field space to actually take.
"It's about picking those moments. That second one, there was space in the back-field so it was just about taking the right option on it."