Schmidt left to sweat as Sexton named on Racing bench
JOE SCHMIDT will spend tonight anxiously watching Racing Metro take on Biarritz in the Top 14 and desperately hoping Jonathan Sexton is an unused replacement.
The Ireland coach expressed concern at Sexton's fatigue levels when he joined the Ireland squad at the beginning of the week and articulated his hope that the 28-year-old would be given this weekend off by the Parisian club.
His pleas appeared to fall on deaf ears, however, as Sexton (pictured) was recalled by his paymasters and flew back to France on Thursday. Schmidt went so far as suggesting involvement this weekend might rule Sexton out of the game against Samoa.
There was a silver lining when Racing named their team yesterday, however, as Jonathan Wisniewski has been named to start the game with Sexton on the bench. Schmidt will be hoping that if Sexton is introduced it will be only for a cameo late on.
The likelihood is that Schmidt will limit Sexton's involvement against Samoa in any case as he will want his first-choice pivot fresh for the games against Australia and, in particular, New Zealand.
Sexton will join re-join the Ireland squad tomorrow night.