Saturday 23 February 2019

Johnny Sexton will shrug off Eddie Jones' 'bat phone' barbs - Felipe Contepomi

 

Ireland's Johnny Sexton. Photo: Paul Harding/PA Wire
Ireland's Johnny Sexton. Photo: Paul Harding/PA Wire
David Kelly

David Kelly

Jonathan Sexton will have no trouble shrugging off the latest barb from English coach Eddie Jones, according to Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi.

And despite not playing since defeat to Munster at Christmas, the Argentinian argues that Sexton's experience will ensure he will be ready to face the English in the Aviva Six Nations opener on Saturday week.

"Eddie said it, I'll put it that way," said Contepomi after Jones claimed Sexton has a "bat phone" to referees.

"If some referees pay attention to what he has to say it's because he earned the right to talk to them. Johnny's not a guy who will influence referees.

"The ideal is to be playing and having game-time. But when you speak about a guy like Johnny Sexton with so much experience and so many games under his belt, I think the crucial thing is to see how fit he is rather than game-time."

Meanwhile, Ireland's second-row stocks have suffered a double blow after Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson were ruled out of the first two games of the Six Nations.

Devin Toner and James Ryan are set to start against England next week, with Ultan Dillane battling Connacht club-mate Quinn Roux for a spot on the bench after the latter was added to the squad yesterday.

After returning from thumb surgery, Henderson aggravated a finger problem and may need another procedure. Ulster say he will be out for "several" weeks.

Along with Roux, Adam Byrne has travelled to Portugal with Joe Schmidt's squad after Andrew Conway suffered an injury that will keep him out of training.

Jack Conan will remain with Leinster for treatment on his shoulder, while Rob Kearney and Jack McGrath will play against Scarlets on Friday.

Irish Independent

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