Ireland confirm Johnny Sexton set to play match this week

Game time.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton looks set to get some vital rugby under his belt before the World Cup with Ireland set to play an unofficial training match against Portugal on Wednesday.

Sexton picked up a ban for an incident with the match officials after Leinster’s Champions Cup final defeat to La Rochelle back in May, ruling him out of Ireland’s entire Summer Nations Series.

The 37-year-old hasn’t played in a number of months, having missed the business end of the season with an injury, and while Easterby insisted it won’t be a “full-blown” game – it will certainly be of great benefit to Sexton especially.

“It wouldn’t be the first time it happened,” said Easterby.

“Often teams collaborate with other teams and get the opportunity to do some set-piece against each other and to run some backline against backline.

“It certainly isn’t a full-blown game. It’s a condition training session that has been a collaboration between the Portuguese coaches and ourselves around trying to create a training session which is slightly different from the norm.”

Easterby added that the opportunity to take on opposition outside of the camp was a no-brainer, and confirmed Sexton will definitely be a part of the game.

“When you know each other so well and get the opportunity to train against each other for four or five weeks, you often cancel each other out in terms of what you try and do in attack and defence,” Easterby added.

“I guess it’s one of those opportunities we had to connect up with the Portuguese to train against them and to challenge ourselves in a way you wouldn’t normally do in a normal training week.

“Johnny will be playing a part in the training session, for sure – as will every other player that’s here.”

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