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Schmidt in anxious wait over Sexton

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Jonathan Sexton

Jonathan Sexton

SPORTSFILE

Jonathan Sexton

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt will face an anxious weekend after an injury crisis at Racing Metro has forced them to deploy Jonathan Sexton in their crucial clash against Bayonne in Paris this evening.

With both of Racing's frontline out-halves, Jonathan Wisniewski and Juan Martin Hernandez, marked absent, coach Laurent Labit has only Benjamin Dambielle and Sexton available to play at No 10.

Sexton, who this week repeated his contention that he has become more attuned to the playing schedule in France after a hectic opening three months, is a key component of Schmidt's side ahead of next week's Triple Crown tilt in Twickenham against England.

Sexton has already been slated to face England, Castres, Italy and France in successive weeks and Schmidt would have been anxious that his playmaker avoid heavy duty this weekend.

"We're also aware of the bigger picture with England the following weekend and Castres the weekend after that and then Italy and France in the weekends after that," said Racing Metro's assistant coach Ronan O'Gara.

"It's impossible for any human being to play all those games so Racing are trying to not use him, if at all possible."

Labit declared satisfaction that Sexton had performed so well for Ireland in successive weeks – while also emerging unscathed. Now Schmidt will be desperately hoping for precisely the same outcome this weekend.

Irish Independent