Sunday 15 December 2019

Sexton: Cheika enjoyed targeting me for the Waratahs, he will do the same on Saturday

Declan Whooley

Ireland out-half Jonathan Sexton says he expects to be targeted like in any other game on Saturday, adding that Michael Cheika will take pleasure in attempting to curb the out-half's influence on the game

Now ranked third in the world after victories over South Africa and Georgia, the Wallabies will be bidding to end Ireland's hopes of a first clean sweep since 2006.

20 November 2014; Ireland's Paul O'Connell during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Paul O'Connell during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Rhys Ruddock, centre, with Rory Best, left, and Jonathan Sexton, right, during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Peter O'Mahony during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Mike Ross, left, and Jack McGrath during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland assistant Simon Easterby during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Devin Toner, left, and Robbie Diack during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
20 November 2014; Ireland's Rory Best during squad training ahead of their side's Guinness Series match against Australia on Saturday. Ireland Rugby Squad Training, Carton House, Maynooth, Co. Kildare. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

The challenge will not be taken lightly by the hosts and the Wallabies will be smarting from their defeat last time out against France, hoping to avoid successive November defeats for the first time in nine years.

Australia coach Michael Cheika will face many of his former Leinster players and one in particular is expecting the 47 year-old to enjoy the re-union of sorts.

Sexton was speaking to the media ahead of Saturday's match and said he expects to be a target for the Wallabies, like he is in every other game at this level.

He joked that his former coach took great pleasure from their last meeting when the Lions took on the Waratahs as a warm-up for the Test Series in 2013.

“I played for the Lions against New South Wales and had a bit of a target on my head – Cheiks had a good laugh at it after the game," the Racing Metro player said.

sexton.jpg
Jonathan Sexton is treated for an injury for the Lions against the Waratahs in 2013

Jonathan Sexton is treated for an injury for the Lions against the Waratahs in 2013

“It’s international rugby, you don’t get away with anything dirty or underhand any more with the TMO.

“I’m sure it will be a tough international match, as they all are, I’m just going to be prepared for anything that comes my way.”

Sexton, like other Irish players this week, was quick to praise the work of Cheika in transforming the province and while he is not in the Wallaby hotseat long, he is expecting the visitors to have their homework done.

"He has a great rugby brain, he knows the game inside out. He’ll know us pretty well and we’re going to have to show him some stuff that he hopefully hasn’t seen before.”

“Cheiks knows we’ll have done a lot of analysis and I’m sure he’ll throw a different picture at us.”

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