• Thu. Feb 25th, 2021

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Sexton: I'm fit and raring to go again


Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton has said he is fit and ready to go ahead of their Six Nations Test vs Italy in Rome on Saturday, having missed the defeat to France last week. The 35-year-old also spoke to the media about Ireland under Andy Farrell, and his future motivations in the Test game

Last Updated: 23/02/21 5:27pm

Johnny Sexton says he is back and fit to play again for Ireland in the Six Nations

Johnny Sexton admits parts of Ireland’s performance in the Guinness Six Nations defeat to France fell below international standards but remains “convinced” the team is progressing under head coach Andy Farrell.

Skipper Sexton missed the 15-13 loss to Les Bleus which effectively ended Irish title hopes due to a head injury – with James Ryan and Conor Murray both out injured too – but will be fit to return against Italy on Saturday.

“There are lots of examples that we have gone through as a team and said that it wasn’t good enough for international standard,” said the fly-half, who suffered a head knock in the opening weekend defeat to Wales.

“And, despite all of those things, we still came within a penalty away from winning the game.

Ireland missed Sexton, James Ryan (right), Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony in the tight loss to France in Dublin

Ireland missed Sexton, James Ryan (right), Conor Murray and Peter O’Mahony in the tight loss to France in Dublin

“The coaches have come in, they’ve done a fantastic job. It’s very different to what it was before, but we will be better for this going forward, of that I am convinced.

“If we talk about World Cup cycles – I might not be part of the full cycle – this group will definitely be better for this type of coaching and structures.”

Speaking about his physical condition, Sexton said: “I am good to go. I am available for selection.

“I was very disappointed to miss out on the French game. It was a game I really wanted to play in but I just didn’t quite get there, didn’t hit the return to play protocol markers, so I had to wait a little bit longer.

Sexton suffered a concussion in the Round 1 defeat to Wales in Cardiff

Sexton suffered a concussion in the Round 1 defeat to Wales in Cardiff

“I trained fully last week and fully this week, so good to go.”

Despite hinting he may not be around for the 2023 World Cup, Sexton said his plan to play in the tournament had not changed.

“I have always been in the same position. I absolutely love what I do, I am very privileged to do it and I am still loving it, and I will keep playing for now – that has never changed,” said the 35-year-old.

Sexton believes Ireland are progressing under Andy Farrell, despite recent defeats

Sexton believes Ireland are progressing under Andy Farrell, despite recent defeats

“I have spoken about admiration for athletes that have stayed at the top of their game for a long time but you’ve got to be careful with what I said or what someone else said because it can get lost a bit.

“For the moment, I am still motivated – I hope my team-mates and coaches see how motivated I am to train well every day and keep going.”





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