Saturday 24 August 2019

We must learn from World Cup mistakes so we don't repeat them in Japan - Sexton

 

'Sexton - one of several key players that Ireland lost to injury during the win over Les Bleus - has his sights set on going all the way in Japan, rather than settling for a first appearance in a semi-final.' Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
'Sexton - one of several key players that Ireland lost to injury during the win over Les Bleus - has his sights set on going all the way in Japan, rather than settling for a first appearance in a semi-final.' Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Johnny Sexton has echoed Conor Murray's assertion that the Ireland players will be aiming beyond the IRFU's target of reaching the World Cup semi-final.

But the out-half warned that he has been in the same position before, less then a year out from the tournament, and he insisted that they must learn to time their run better.

Three years ago in Cardiff, Ireland saw off France in what was a brutal final pool clash as they avoided meeting the All Blacks in the quarter-final and instead took on Argentina.

Sexton - one of several key players that Ireland lost to injury during the win over Les Bleus - has his sights set on going all the way in Japan, rather than settling for a first appearance in a semi-final.

"It's hard, isn't it? Look, you never go into a tournament wanting to not win something," he said. "I've never gone into the Heineken Cup saying, 'Oh, I hope we get to the quarters or the semis', but at the same time we've never got past the quarter-finals.

"We've got to first of all figure out why that is. We've got to say to each other there's been reasons why and we've got to make sure we don't play our final in the group.

"I think that's coming from the IRFU. From a management point of view, Joe (Schmidt) won't set his targets," Sexton said.

"We'll concentrate on our first game and then we'll concentrate on the second game. Hopefully, things will go well and we can get to the stage where we're concentrating on a quarter-final and see what happens.

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"Every Irish team, in 2007, 2011 and 2015, had the same massive aspirations of doing something special. And we've all come up short. We need to figure out why and put it right," he added.

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