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Dublin: 9°C Friday 7 May 2021

Sexton: 'We started like this last year but fell apart the week after'

The Irish out-half was the voice of reason after steering his team to a comfortable win over Scotland.

Jonny Sexton kicked 13 points today.
Jonny Sexton kicked 13 points today.
Image: RTE

JONATHAN SEXTON TEMPERED Irish expectations after steering his team to a 28-6 win over Scotland at Lansdowne Road.

The out-half was five from six off the kicking tee as he contributed 13 points for the Irish cause. His breakaway sprint through a porous Scottish midfield energised Ireland in the closing stages of the first half. He was denied a try assist as Jamie Heaslip was pulled over the sideline but the home side remained in the Scots’ 22 and eventually left with an Andrew Trimble try.

Sexton told RTÉ that Ireland will not get carried away with the victory, which placed his team atop the Six Nations standings. He commented, “It was really important to get off to a winning start and win our home games but we started like this last year but fell apart quite dramatically the week after.

“Consistency has been a key word for us, especially after November. We’ve to to refocus, enjoy tonight, and refocus tomorrow.”

Sexton paid tribute to his teammates for holding firm under Scottish pressure in the opening forays and felt they took advantage of the opportunities that came their way. “We know it is going to be a lot tougher next weekend. Wales will be going for three [titles] in a row and with the players they have we will have to go up a level. That’s what we need to do.”

Sexton admitted he had struggled with injuries since making the move from Leinster to Racing Métro but is trying to contribute in any way possible when he makes it onto the pitch. “We can’t let ourselves get into a false state of where we think we are. We have to lift it again for next week.”


RTÉ pundits Ronan O’Gara and Shane Horgan, meanwhile, believe Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will have to make some tough selection decisions ahead of the Wales clash. “Paul O’Connell will cvome back in and, aside from that, there will be a couple of close calls. Gordon D’Arcy will be [pushing] for the 12 jersey and the two wingers will be fighting for their positions,” said Horgan.

O’Gara opined, “Change in Ireland is associated with negativity… but now it is a 23-man game.”

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Patrick McCarry

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