Ireland Skipper Johnny Sexton Admits That The Captaincy Makes It Mean More
Latest posts by Jason Hennessy (see all)
Ireland’s Johnny Sexton has admitted that he feels extra pressure to perform whilst selected as the captain of the national side. Coach Andy Farrell elected to continue with Sexton for Ireland’s last two games of the tournament, with the side needing to pull off two impressive performances if they are to have a chance.
Ireland face an uphill battle to claim the Six Nations title on the Autumn return of the tournament, the Six Nations odds suggest that rivals England are the strong favourites to claim the title. England are odds-on to win the tournament with Paddy Power, with Ireland seen as the second-favourites at 10/3.
In all likelihood, Ireland will either need England to lose to Italy on the final day, or to pull off bonus point wins against both Italy and France in their own fixtures if they are to take home the title.
Sexton felt that he performed poorly in Ireland’s defeat to England in the last Irish performance in the tournament. Speaking to reporters, Sexton admitted that the captaincy made his own performance and the result more difficult to take.
“It hurts more when you’re captain because you’re the guy that’s meant to be leading by example and putting in the performance that shows the way. If you don’t do that it can be a hard place to stand and talk,” Sexton said.
Sexton had been a doubt for the game against Italy but is said to have trained fully with the rest of the squad in the days ahead and is in contention for the crucial game. Sadly, the Ulster captain Iain Henderson is going to miss the game in disappointing circumstances after he was sent off in a club match against Ospreys earlier this month.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) October 20, 2020
Having first made his test debut for the senior Irish side way back in 2009 against Fiji, Sexton has long been a key member of the Irish national set-up, even winning the coveted World Rugby Player of the Year award back in 2018.
Ireland won the Six Nations in 2018, and though Wales took the title last time around, Sexton and Farrell would love nothing more than to upset the odds and take the title away from the English on a dramatic final day. The side have had several months to mentally prepare for a couple of huge games against Italy and France, and though fans will not be there to cheer them on, they will be there in spirit and hoping for a miracle.
It is vital that Ireland can secure a bonus-point win against the Italians in their first game, who as of yet are without a point in this year’s edition of the famous tournament. You would be foolish to try and predict exactly what will happen on what is sure to be a topsy-turvy final day on October 31st, but every true rugby fan will be looking forward to the occasion immensely.