Sunday 25 September 2016

'Critics more offensive to doctors and IRFU than me,' says Sexton

Harry Clarke

Published 03/03/2016 | 02:30

Johnny Sexton: 'I don't think you can play rugby without tackling, it's not going to be rugby' Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Johnny Sexton: 'I don't think you can play rugby without tackling, it's not going to be rugby' Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Ireland's Johnny Sexton has hit back at critics who have suggested he is playing through a series of concussions, claiming they have been offensive to his medics.

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Sexton has suffered a series of knocks in recent months, but he believes proposals by more than 70 UK medics to ban tackling in youth rugby is a step too far.

"I don't think you can play rugby without tackling, it's not going to be rugby," he told the 'Anton Savage Show' on Today FM.

"The IRFU and those who look after us unbelievably well are taking every measure to make sure player welfare is top of the list," he added.

"They are leading the way internationally in looking after players with concussion. That's why it is so frustrating to hear people saying I was playing through concussion.

"It was more offensive to the doctors and the IRFU than it was to me. It would suggest that they are not doing their job. That's where a lot of the issues came from.

"I have been very lucky with injuries throughout my career. I had a few knocks lately but have probably had two concussions in my career that were serious and the rest of the time just bumps and bruises really."

Ireland are coming off the back of two defeats and a draw from their opening three Six Nations games and Sexton, inset, admits only two wins from their remaining two matches will be good enough.

"We have had three very tough games. We played against the biggest teams in the competition, the three toughest teams and it didn't go to plan with injuries, results-wise, all that. After such a disappointing start, the best we can finish now is third and that's what we are going to try and do," he said.

Irish Independent

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