Rugby-U.S. coach Gold backs rookie flyhalf Carty against England

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Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool C - United States v Tonga
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(Reuters) -Selecting rookie flyhalf Luke Carty to face England at Twickenham on Sunday is a "brave" decision, said United States coach Gary Gold, but also just reward for a player who has excelled in his maiden Major League Rugby season.

The 23-year-old Carty has played for Ireland at junior level and is the younger brother of senior Irish international flyhalf Jack.

He qualifies for the U.S. through his grandparents but having only moved to California earlier this year to play for LA Gilitinis, he has been handed a debut sooner than even he might have thought.

"We think Luke has got great potential," Gold told reporters on Thursday. "It is a tough ask for him, as it is for all great sportsmen when they get their first run at it.

"I’m sure he might have wanted potentially to have a debut in a slightly easier environment. But we back him.

"We want to be brave and reward guys who have played well. If you are good enough, you are old enough, so let’s make those tough decisions. If we get it wrong, we get it wrong and we go back to the drawing board."

Gold is expecting a much-changed England side, who are missing their British and Irish Lions in South Africa, to throw the ball around and try and stretch the U.S., who they beat 45-7 at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

"What makes them such a good side is the intensity and the pace that they play at, and to be able to execute their skills at that pace," Gold says. "We are not going to get a huge amount of opportunities, but when we do we have to make them count.

"That is the biggest thing about top-level test match rugby, time and space is taken away from you. But we will only get better by playing against teams like this.

"They (England) will want to push the boundaries and play a ball-in-hand game of rugby. They are going to try and use the width of the field, ask questions of our defence and stretch us."

The U.S. will also play Ireland in Dublin on July 10, which could be another big occasion for Carty, who is one of three new caps to start against England along with South African-born flanker Riekert Hattingh and wing Mika Kruse.

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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