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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020
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Tentative steps for Sexton on Captain's Run with a difference for Ireland

The out-half looks like a man ready to start on Sunday, but is minding his adductor.

Sean Farrell reports from the Millennium Stadium

JONATHAN SEXTON STROLLED down the tunnel last, as usual, with a kicking tee in his hand and a look up to the highest point of the stand.

This was a change from the usual Captain’s Run for Ireland because it comes more than 48 hours before they kick-off the Rugby World Cup quarter-final. The change is simply down to tomorrow’s second quarter-final between New Zealand and France happening at the same venue.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Ireland Captain's Run - Millennium Stadium Sexton and (in the background) Earls train today. Source: David Davies

As a result there was a different feel to the ground this morning. Members of the backroom team kept a close eye on shadows and faces appearing behind the glass of the Millennium Stadium corporate boxes. Rala set up on the sideline, not for the shadow boxing of a Captain’s Run, but for a regular full training session with a table full of sustenance and a pile of tackle bags.

Full session

Sean O’Brien was, by a long way, the first player out on the field even though he knows he will play no part. Keith Earls walked out sharing a joke with new captain Jamie Heaslip, the Munster man has strapping on his right arm, but was kitted out for a full session.

When Sexton joined the rest of the group he joined in the straight line jogging and formed part of the 30-man circle to engage in stretching. While the rest of the squad spread legs to a quite testing angle for groins, Sexton was clearly in a different pose. And when his team-mates broke into some of the slightly more explosive movement of bouncing from foot to foot, the Leinster out-half continued on his own programme of core and stability work to give his adductor the best possible chance on Sunday.

After Sexton, Earls and every other of the squad began breaking into 40-metre runs, the vision access reached its 15 minute limit. However, what follows behind the closed doors and roof of the Cardiff ground could have major implications for Ireland’s hopes in Sunday’s meeting with Argentina.

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Sean Farrell

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