Sexton’s Comments On The Grand Slam Will Breathe Fire Into The Irish Rugby Team
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“I still haven’t won a Triple Crown.”
Johnny Sexton says opportunities like the one afforded to Ireland next week don’t come along very often, and that you’ve got to take them with both hands when they come. The Ireland playmaker was speaking after their win over Scotland, and it appears he’s nowhere near content with just winning the Six Nations.
Sexton was part of Ireland’s squad for the 2009 Six Nations when they last won a Grand Slam, but didn’t make the matchday squad against Wales, where Ronan O’Gara was the star with a match-winning drop goal.
“Declan (Kidney) said I was just as much a part of it as everyone else in 2009 when I was on the bibs. I definitely didn’t feel that way.” Sexton said.
“But I remember some of the talks around that time from the O’Driscolls, O’Connells, O’Garas – they were trying to achieve this for 10 years and you just could tell by their actions through that season how much it meant to them.
“They had to drag along guys like Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe, Rob Kearney and young guys coming through. It’s very similar to that now.
“I think Rory [Best] is desperate for Grand Slam because he feels he would be a bigger part of it now than he played back then [Best was understudy to Jerry Flannery in four of the five matches].
“For us it is about dragging those young lads on. They probably think they are going to get loads of opportunities but as I know it doesn’t work out like that. I remember playing Scotland in Croke Park for a Triple Crown [in 2010]and almost taking it for granted because I thought I’d have plenty more opportunities like this.
“I still haven’t won a Triple Crown.
“You’ve got to take these opportunities with both hands when they come.”
Looking back now, Sexton’s drop-goal against France has ultimately sealed a championship, and could be the defining moment if they secure the Grand Slam. But Sexton says there is so much more to play for, and the Grand Slam remains the ultimate target.
“We said after that it was a very special moment for the team and we will look back next week after we have lifted the trophy but also hopefully with a Grand Slam and see that as a huge five minutes.” Sexton added.
“Look. It’s very muted upstairs. It is a very strange feeling to win the championship with a game to go. There is so much still to play for.
“The shoe is on the other foot now, after last year, and I’m sure they will be licking their lips.
“I know a lot of the [English players] from Lions trips and they are very proud people. I’m sure they will be gunning for us.”