Tuesday 17 October 2017

Jones: Sexton furore is ‘done and dusted’

England coach insists he has apologised to Ireland out-half, despite not having spoken to him

Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Eddie Jones has attempted to draw a line over his comments about Johnny Sexton during last season's Six Nations.

The England coach was criticised for dragging the out-half's parents and general well-being into the pre-match build-up ahead of Ireland's defeat at Twickenham.

The Australian had been quick to pounce on Ireland's use of the word "whiplash" in describing an injury which Sexton had suffered, saying, "I'm sure his mother and father would be worried about that".

In December, he told the London Times he intended to apologise, saying: "I haven't yet but at the right time I will. He is a brilliant player. I love him as a player".

Yesterday, he was asked if he regretted the incident ahead of the Grand Slam decider in Dublin this weekend.

Read more: Eddie Jones: Ireland were the Six Nations favourites, they'll be "grossly disappointed"

"That's done and dusted," he said. "I apologised and I stand by it. I haven't spoken to him. I'll leave him with his prep' - I'm sure he doesn't want to speak to me. He's an excellent player and we respect him greatly."

As Ireland delivered a positive injury bulletin on Sexton and half-back partner Conor Murray, who were both in the wars on Friday, Jones questioned Joe Schmidt's team's consistency after defeat to Wales in Cardiff ended their title ambitions.

"They'll be grossly disappointed by their performance on Friday," he said. "I've just been reading all the predictions at the start of the tournament and a number of people tipped them to win the competition.

"They were favourites, they haven't won the Six Nations and they'll be carrying the expectation of their country to do well.

"I've watched that All Black game a lot because you learn a lot from any team that beats the best in the world. That was in November. They have played six games since and have a 50pc win record.

"They are capable of playing really well and it is our job to make sure that they don't play well. We have to start with a strong game, with a lot of pressure in our game."

Irish Independent

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