Saturday 17 March 2018

Sexton passed fit as Ireland coach Easterby declares Paddy Jackson ready to play ahead of Canada clash

Paddy Jackson has played 16 times for Ireland
Paddy Jackson has played 16 times for Ireland
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby insists that Paddy Jackson will have no problem switching his focus back to rugby this week as he prepares to face Canada after being forced to miss last week's historic win in Chicago against the All Blacks.

Jonathan Sexton is suffering with cramp and is unlikely to be risked this week ahead of the New Zealand rematch in nine days time and the concluding November series clash against Australia a week later.

Ireland must weigh up their options at ten with Leinster starlet Joey Carbery, who debuted in the last quarter in Chicago, and Jackson vying for the out-half slot.

"Jonathan Sexton is fine," said Easterby, who confirmed there will be changes made for this Saturday's clash with Canada.

"Players get cramp and he hadn't had much playing time. He got it earlier than expected but Joey Carbery did well when he came on.

"There will be an assumption that we will make changes and the good thing is that a marker is laid down and the players who came in this week have a desire to add something.

"Last week is banked, we draw a line in the sand and start again. It is important to keep continuity but also to freshen things up as it was a physical game.

"We have another test match in the Aviva and everyone wants to be involved because there is a real buzz in the squad. But they will all support each other and that is how it was last weekend, those who did not play helped the squad who did.

"Paddy Jackson is good, what he showed in the summer in South Africa is what we expected of him. He stood up and led the team in difficult circumstances, assured and controlled.

"He is obviously dealing with other things outside the environment which we will let him deal with. But in terms of what he brings to the camp, he is doing really well.

"Canada played three games in the summer and a few A games so we have a lot of footage from what they have done under new coach Mark Anscombe, the former Ulster coach and they have some quality backs like DTH van der Merwe and Taylor Paris who play at a top level in Europe while they have a robust pack. We know if we don't do our jobs properly they will harm us."

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