Steve Hansen hails Irish player as the ‘probably the best he’s ever seen’
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Rugby World Cup-winning former All Blacks head coach, Steve Hansen, has hailed Ireland’s Johnny Sexton as “probably the best” player he’s ever seen when it comes to his decision-making.
Sexton returned for Ireland in time for this year’s World Cup after nearly six months out with injury and suspension and has played a pivotal role for his country so far.
Ireland are three from three in the pool stages so far, including a huge win over reigning champions South Africa last weekend, with a likely quarter-final against the All Blacks now on the horizon, if they can get past Scotland in their final pool match.
“We have to get to Sexton, he’s a phenomenal player and probably the best I’ve ever seen in making the right decisions on the line,” Hansen told The Platform.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a player anywhere in the world, or anytime in the world, as good as he is at off-loading the ball to the right person at the right time under pressure.”
Hansen also believes that New Zealand can play on Ireland’s Rugby World Cup anxiety, with the men in green yet to get past the quarter-final stages of rugby’s showpiece event.
“We have to make sure we’re prepared to stay in the fight, take the points when they’re on offer and keep ticking the scoreboard over, and try putting them under pressure from a scoreboard point of view,” Sexton added
“If we can do that, it’s like ‘Oh, here we go again, we’re not going to get past the quarter-finals.’ That will put them under a bit of pressure and maybe distract them from where they need to be mentally.”