Johnny Sexton – “It’s Amazing How People’s Opinions Can Change In A Couple Of Months.”
Johnny Sexton reckons Ireland still haven’t reached their full potential and reckons they can be even better than they were when the won a Grand Slam and defeat the All Blacks last year.
Many believe Ireland ‘peaked’ during that incredible winning spell but Sexton does not think that is the case. He also thinks it’s “amazing” how people’s opinion of them has changed so much after a disappointing Six Nations campaign this year.
“I didn’t think we’d peaked when we won the Grand Slam and I didn’t think we’d peaked when we beat the All Blacks either. It’s amazing how peoples’ opinions can change in the space of a couple of months,” Sexton said in quotes released after he appeared for Mace’s ‘go the extra smile’ marketing campaign.
“We beat the All Blacks and all the (public) talk was ‘nothing’s going to stop us winning the World Cup’ and then, three or four games later, we’re the worst team ever and people think we peaked.”
Sexton also squashed any talk of conspiracy theories to explain why they were poor this year and insisted Ireland are conscious that they want to send the Schmidt and the players that will be finishing up after the World Cup out “on a high”.
“People have been coming up with conspiracy theories after the Six Nations, that we under-performed because it was Joe’s last campaign etc… but it had nothing to do with any of that,” said Sexton.
I don’t think it’s anything we’ll speak about but, at the same time, we are conscious of the fact that we want to send him off on a high. There’s players too that will finish up at the end of the World Cup, that will be playing their last games in green, that we’ll want to send off on a high too.
So all of that stuff will be going through your head but, when it comes down to an actual game and what’s happening in it, it probably doesn’t matter so there’s not much point in talking about it. It’s not going to make the performance better or worse on the day.
As for Schmidt himself, Sexton says his legacy will live on no matter what happens in Japan.
“Joe’s legacy will live on no matter what. He has had the best record by a mile of any Irish coach. No matter what happens between now and then end of his tenure, no one’s come close.”
“What he has taught us will continue to live on through the players and the coaches that have worked with him. When Andy Farrell takes over he’s not just going to discard everything Joe did, a lot of what we’ve done over the last few years will continue, that’s Joe’s legacy.”
Ireland rugby star Johnny Sexton visited Caherline National School, Limerick, to deliver a coaching masterclass to students as part of the MACE, ÒGoing the Extra SmileÓ campaign.
Caherline National School won the prize thanks to their random act of kindness in their local community. MACE, IrelandÕs longest serving convenience brand, is rooted in local communities with over 160 stores nationwide.