Sunday 28 May 2017

WATCH: 'We need to talk about this front row' - Luke Fitzgerald highlights how Ireland put England to the sword

Furlonh in action and (inset) Luke and Ruaidhri O'Connor discuss the win over England
Furlonh in action and (inset) Luke and Ruaidhri O'Connor discuss the win over England

Jack O'Toole

Luke Fitzgerald has backed former team-mate Johnny Sexton to start for the British & Irish Lions this summer after Ireland's 13-9 win over England in Dublin on Saturday.

Sexton scored eight of Ireland's 13 points in a spirited performance where the Leinster fly-half showed great resilience after he was the subject of repeated hits from a strong English defence.

Speaking on the Left Wing at the Aviva Stadium Fitzgerald said the performance was "more of a reflection of what the team is really about".

Fitzgerald also praised the performance of Peter O'Mahony and highlighted the strength Ireland have now in the front row.

Sexton (31) played the full 80 minutes in the win against Eddie Jones' side and Fitzgerald thinks he'll form a dangerous partnership with inside centre Owen Farrell for the Lions this summer. However Fitzgerald insisted that Irish inside centre Robbie Henshaw will make it a very tough decision for Lions coach Warren Gatland.

"I thought they were both excellent, I could see that being the 10-12 axis [for the Lions]," said Fitzgerald when asked about the performances of Sexton and Farrell.

"Although I would say Robbie Henshaw did a bit of a number on him today. I thought Robbie Henshaw was brilliant, and I thought he was brilliant last week.

"Some of his defensive hits, he's just so up for the fight, I thought he was brilliant again today, so he's a definite contender there, it just depends on what kind of team you want out on the pitch out there.

"I think Farrell is a classy player. Whoever is 10, we're going to have a great kicker there, looks like it's going to be him or Johnny for me, I don't think Leigh Halfpenny will start in the team, but it's where you play him.

"I'd be trying to fit him [Farrell] in, even though I think Robbie's very tight there, it's a tight call and Robbie has beaten the All Blacks as well, we've got to remember that.

"There's a possibility it might come down to conditions - if the conditions are decent out there, he might go with Farrell, and say we might want to get it out to those wider channels and be a bit more expansive - if it's tight and a bit attritional, he might go with Robbie."

Six Nations coverage on The Left Wing, in association with Aer Lingus, the official airline to the Irish rugby team.

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