Tuesday 15 October 2019

'We will certainly be trying to smash him' - Scotland's assistant coach issues warning to Johnny Sexton

20 September 2019; Jonathan Sexton during the Ireland captain's run ahead of their opening Pool A game against Scotland at the International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
20 September 2019; Jonathan Sexton during the Ireland captain's run ahead of their opening Pool A game against Scotland at the International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Scotland assistant coach Matt Taylor has warned Johnny Sexton that his players intend to “smash” him in tomorrow's World Cup opener.

Sexton came in for some rough treatment at Murrayfield when the two sides met during the Six Nations earlier this year.

The Ireland out-half was forced off after just 23 minutes and Scotland have made it clear that they will target him again if he takes the ball flat to the line.

"We did a good a job on him and I think a lot of teams took a leaf out of our book in terms of getting up and trying to smash him," Taylor said.

"He's a brave player, he plays it right to the line. But if he plays right to the line you tend to smash people and that is what we intend to do.

"They've kept him a bit wrapped in cotton wool over the last period because he has taken a lot of hits and knocks. We will certainly be trying to do that to him and they will be trying to do that to Finn as well."

Sexton will come up against Finn Russell and Taylor is hopeful that Scotland's mercurial out-half can provide more of a spark than the "regimented" Sexton.

"I love Finn as a player, though Johnny Sexton is a very good player," Taylor continued.

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"They're quite different types of players. Finn plays things as he sees them I'd say, while Johnny is a bit more regimented in the way Joe Schmidt likes to play.

"We're looking to put a lot of pressure on him like we did last time we played so that's going to be an objective again for us."

Wayne Barnes will be the man in the middle for tomorrow's clash in Yokohama and earlier this week, Ireland's defence coach Andy Farrell was asked if Sexton needed more protection from the referee.

"Well, he did (get rough treatment) the game after that and fast forward a good few months and in the last game against Wales he got a bit of treatment as well," Farrell maintained.

"I don't see that stopping at all. But Johnny will keep playing and doing what's right for the team.

"The officials will referee the game as they it. If it needs sanctioning or penalising, then that's their job to do that. Johnny will just do his job as well."

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