Brian O’Driscoll Tells It How It Is When It Comes To Johnny Sexton & Ireland
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With the next Rugby World Cup just two and a half years away – Ireland’s long-terms plans at ten are still very much a big concern.
Johnny Sexton is 36 this summer and will be 38 by the time the next Rugby World Cup in France rolls around but as things stand – there is no viable replacement for him.
Sexton has struggled in recent years with injury and his fitness continues to be a concern – and every time he misses a game, his replacement at ten generally fails to flatter.
Speaking on Off The Ball AM this week, former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll thinks it’s a real concern for Ireland going forward.
“I think we are struggling at #10 to be brutally honest,” O’Driscoll said on OTB AM this week.
“I just feel that the gulf is still so considerable from Johnny Sexton down to the next player
“For all the people calling for Johnny Sexton to be culled, his best is still considerably the best in Ireland – by a long shot.
“I can understand why he still has such an important role within that set-up because we saw the alternative at the weekend and unfortunately it is not to the lofty standards set by Ireland in recent years.
“Right now if you said to me would I like Johnny Sexton in the 23-man squad for the World Cup, I would say yes. There is no obvious alternative.
“We need creativity and vision which I just don’t know what with the speed of test match rugby whether the two #10s at the weekend are capable of delivering. I just think their ceiling is not where we needs it to be.”
“I feel for the likes of Garry Ringrose because he’s having to create for himself in the wider channels, Keith Earls is running after kicks all day. It cannot be easy for those guys.”
In terms of a solution, O’Driscoll reckons Connacht’s Jack Carty deserves another on the international stage.
“I actually think at this stage it is worthwhile giving Jack Carty another go,” O’Driscoll added.
“He probably presents a little bit more from an attacking point of view. He goes to the line quite aggressively and he’s very capable of running with the ball himself.
“I don’t think he does it as well as Johnny Sexton, but he definitely takes a step and hits the pass a little bit more than the two boys at the weekend. Maybe it is time to see if he deserves that second shot at it.”