Tuesday 12 December 2017

All eyes on Paris! Jonathan Sexton starts for Racing Metro tomorrow

Johnny Sexton with the eye injury he sustained in a collision with France’s Mathieu Bastareaud
Johnny Sexton with the eye injury he sustained in a collision with France’s Mathieu Bastareaud

Irish rugby fans will be looking at Racing Metro's Top 14 clash with Clermont Auvergne through their fingers after it was confirmed that Johnny Sexton will start for the Paris side.

Sexton returned from a 12-week lay-off to earn to the man-of-the-match award in Ireland's 18-11 win over France despite being on the receiving end of a number of heavy blows.

Racing, who are fourth in the Top 14 table, have a chance to close on the side directly above them when they face Clermont tomorrow.

Writing in his column in the Irish Examiner today, Ronan O'Gara said: " The only fella not off the clock this weekend is Johnny Sexton, because Racing Metro are taking on Clermont tomorrow night.

"He has a bad black eye and stitches after his clash with Mathieu Bastareaud, so you’re hoping there’s no more damage done to it. He will most definitely benefit from the game-time after being out for so long, although the Top 14 is a very different animal to a test match.

"We’re playing at 8.45pm local time at night so the pitch will be dewy — the pace of the game won’t be anything like the Six Nations.

"Our back play has been relatively quiet so far in this Six Nations and Ireland will have to show some more in this area with Jonathan Joseph — the find of the championship so far — and George Ford performing so well. Ireland must test England in every domain, and Sexton is vital to those ambitions."

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