Tuesday 20 February 2018

All Blacks humiliation: We must learn from England example, says Sexton

Jonathan Sexton leaves the field following the crushing defeat at the hands of the All Blacks. Photo: Getty Images
Jonathan Sexton leaves the field following the crushing defeat at the hands of the All Blacks. Photo: Getty Images

Hugh Farrelly in Auckland

JONATHAN SEXTON believes Ireland have to learn some harsh lessons from their humiliating experience in New Zealand in the same way England did after the 'tour to hell' in 1998.

Ireland lost 3-0 in their series against the All Blacks, going down 42-10 in the first Test, 22-19 in the second before suffering a record 60-0 defeat last weekend in Hamilton. And Ireland out-half Sexton, who started all three games, said it is imperative that the squad learns from those reversals.

England lost to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa under Clive Woodward in 1998, including a 76-0 hammering in Brisbane, but Woodward guided many of the same players to the World Cup title five years later and Sexton believes Ireland can take inspiration from that example.

"We'll take it on the chin and move on and try and build from this," said Sexton.

"It's going to be tough, but it happened England in 1998 and it made a lot of the players. Guys who were on that trip learnt a lot and it made them, they won the World Cup five years after, so we can regroup and go again.

"I've never played in a game where we haven't scored a point. It was pretty demoralising, embarrassing. I don't know what words to use but it's pretty embarrassing.

"We can learn from it, learn from how good they (New Zealand) are, how clinical they are," he added. "I suppose we know a bit of the Kiwi mindset from our Leinster coach (Joe Schmidt).

"We thrive off it and we know what they talk about.

"They did the basics very well and that is what it comes down to. You can't afford to drop the ball or just keep throwing the ball away time and time again and then miss tackles when you do. Everything that we spoke about not doing we did. It was the total opposite to last week.

"You learn a lot about the guys around you. That's probably the biggest thing. You learn a bit about yourself when things are going bad. It's time to regroup, have a rest and then try and come back and be better next season."

Irish Independent

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