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31st Oct 2020

“What would you like me to be doing when I’m coming off the pitch?” – Johnny Sexton

Patrick McCarry

Johnny Sexton

“I back the players to judge the feel and flow of the game.”

Following Ireland’s 35-27 defeat to France, in Paris, Andy Farrell said he had no issues with Johnny Sexton and his players going for tries over penalties, but he was critical of their execution in the opposition 22.

Ireland captain Sexton defended Ireland’s decision to kick for three attacking lineouts, in the first half, as “brave” and feels Ireland were very close to justifying those calls on the scoreboard.

Ireland were on top for large portions of the second half yet went into the dressing rooms 17-13 behind after the French withstood waves of pressure and stepped up with big defensive plays. Ireland, on the other hand, were sloppy in defence for the two tries they conceded in the opening 40.

France threatened to run away with the tie in the second half until a Robbie Henshaw try gave Farrell’s side the briefest of hope. Not long after that score, Sexton and Andrew Porter were subbed off for Ross Byrne and Finlay Bealham. Sexton was none too pleased to leave the fray with a comeback – albeit unlikely – still in the offing.

Following the game, Sexton said the decision to turn down a penalty in front of the posts in favour of an attacking lineout was conceived to put pressure on the French side and try knock them out of championship contention with a try. It did not come to bear, however.

On his reaction to being called ashore for Byrne, the Irish captain was briefly exasperated while trying to explain his thought process at the time.

“Yeah, I was very disappointed coming off, like everyone would be.

“You’re losing the game and you’re coming off… so, what would you like me to be doing when I’m coming off the pitch?

“Disappointment that we didn’t win the game. We were 28-20 down with 11, 12 minutes to go and we had a five-metre lineout that we needed to capitalise on. They are things that you look back on with regret.”

Ireland will get a break next weekend before returning to Test match action with a home game against Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup, on November 13.



Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts. You can catch up on all our episodes from past seasons and interviews with Conrad Smith, Victor Matfield, Simon Zebo, Sean O’Brien, Drew Mitchell, Jean De Villiers, Finn Russell, Mike Brown, Brian O’Driscoll, Tana Umaga and much, much more.

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