Sunday 25 June 2017

'Maybe it's fatherhood' - Brian O'Driscoll on how Johnny Sexton has altered his approach to rugby

Jonathan Sexton who was today named in the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad that will tour New Zealand this summer at Leinster Rugby HQ in UCD today
Jonathan Sexton who was today named in the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad that will tour New Zealand this summer at Leinster Rugby HQ in UCD today
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Johnny Sexton is the favourite to don the number 10 jersey for the British and Irish Lions this summer in New Zealand and Brian O'Driscoll believes a change in attitude will help him survive the rigours he will face.

Speaking recently, former Lions coach Dick Best, a member of Ian McGeechan's staff for the '93 tour of New Zealand, said he doesn't expect Sexton to last the duration of the tour.

While admitting that the flyhalf will be targeted, O'Driscoll believes a more measured approach to the game, that Sexton has shown in recent years, will help his former teammate down under.

"I think he calmed over the last number of years, I don't know whether that is fatherhood or whether it's just the realisation that he's the key figure in that backline that has to be a calming influence," he told Off The Ball on Newstalk

"I think you still see the rattiness every so often but I think he seem much more collected. I still see him throwing the death stare but not much shouting at people, which he used to do."

Sexton will compete with Wales' Dan Biggar and Owen Farrell of England, who could also be deployed at inside centre, for a tarting berth and O'Driscoll believes the trio will get the best out of each other.

"If you look at those three 10s, they could be triplets. The personality of them," he added.

"Narky and always challenging.

"Farrell has really controlled his emotions well. He has really matured.

"I think the three of them are going to get on great."

Former Ireland captain Keith Wood is happy with the amount of cover at outhalf but believes that the tourists will need Sexton on the field to be at their best.

"I'd like to see him in all the tests. I think we have an infinitely better chance with a guy who is a master tactician on the field and if you have Owen Farrell outside him, we are in a stronger position," he said.

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