Joe Schmidt Makes Johnny Sexton Admission

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt says Paddy Jackson’s Six Nations display means Johnny Sexton faces a battle to win his place back against France in two weeks.

Jackson converted all nine of Ireland’s tries in Saturday’s 63-10 demolition of Italy and also starred in open play.

“This window has allowed Paddy to put his hand up and say ‘well, that shouldn’t be an automatic choice’, Schmidt said.

Sexton is expected to be fit for the France game in Dublin. The Leinster star has missed Ireland’s first two Six Nations games because of a calf muscle injury.

“Johnny has proven that he can come straight back into a side and hit the ground running, and he’s done that for us on other occasions.

“I think Paddy certainly learned a lot in South Africa through that summer series.

“He learned a lot in November as well, particularly in that game against New Zealand where he came under a lot of pressure and had to make some decisions with very little time and space.

“And then again last week he did very well to lead us back into the game. He kicked well again today.”

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