Saturday 24 August 2019

'I'm not trying to please Jones' - Sexton hits back at England coach after 'kick and clap' jibe

Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Johnny Sexton has dismissed England coach Eddie Jones' jibe that Ireland will "kick and clap" ahead of tomorrow's Six Nations clash at the Aviva Stadium.

The Ireland out-half, who has yet to receive a personal apology from the England coach following last year's controversial concussion comments, says he doesn't listen to anything outside his own camp.

"I am not sure," he said when asked about Jones' perception of Ireland's tactical game. "I have never worked under him so I don't know what he is like behind the press. It is not Eddie I am trying to please, it is Joe (Schmidt) I am trying to please.

"We have got a pretty clear plan and we always do have a pretty clear plan and we will just keep trying to do that better. That is the key."

Sexton also refuted claims that he was sledged by-part Dan Biggar following his sin-binning during last Friday's defeat to Wales.

"I don't know where the sledging thing came from. Someone said it to me. No-one sledged me. He texted me after the game and said he didn't."

Sexton will have to operate without his regular half-back partner Conor Murray, who failed a final fitness test on his injured shoulder yesterday but insists he can handle the pressure alongside the inexperienced Kieran Marmion.

"I feel pressure every game I play for Ireland and every game I play for Leinster because I put pressure on myself and guys around you put pressure on you," he said.

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"When you are vice-captain or captain you have got pressure automatically because you need to perform."

Read more: 'There's always external noise' - Joe Schmidt ignores Eddie Jones' kicking jibes

Sexton feels that Ireland need to replicate the form that brought them a momentous victory against the All Blacks in November as they seek to deny another country a world-record run of successive victories.

"We want to be the team that's fighting for the championship and trying to be consistent," he said.

"Now we're in a position where we have nothing to play for except to stopping them doing something.

"We don't want to be in that situation but we are and we've probably got to enjoy it now.

"Then we can worry about how we're going to become the team that England and the All Blacks are after the championship."

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