Ireland legend gives his take on performance against France
Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll feels Jonathan Sexton's greatest attribute is his decision making.
He joined Off The Ball this week to discuss the return of his former Leinster and Ireland team-mate Sexton in his first Six Nations match of the campaign against France.
O’Driscoll praised the overall performance of the team against the French, saying that, “We were the ones that were building all the pressure and territory and they were waiting for individual brilliance or a massive error. I think they had to pull a rabbit out of a hat to beat us, because we were defensively on our game and also I think we had their number for the most part.”
Sexton performed well individually in his first game back and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt gave his views on Sexton's showing, remarking that, “The evidence was that he operated really well today, because the conditions were very tough. When Johnny makes a call, guys immediately respond to it. Paddy Jackson is growing in that all the time, in that when he speaks to the group, he has their undivided attention.
"So for Johnny with the experiences that he’s had with the group, they have confidence in him because he has navigated us around the pitch so effectively over the last however long.”
O’Driscoll was clearly on the same wavelength as the Ireland head coach in regards to Sexton.
“I just think there’s a real comfort there. I think there are certain names you see on the teamsheet when you are playing with them and Johnny is probably number one in that regard. Yes, Paddy Jackson has done extremely well over the last year or so and someone put the question to me, 'What message does this send to Paddy Jackson that Johnny comes in after Paddy doing so well against Italy?' I think the message it says is you’re second best to a world class player.”
Talking about what Sexton's best attribute is, O'Driscoll said, “For me, it’s his realisation when to kick the ball. When they were further up the field and nothing was really happening, his decisions to go to the air, to go kick, contest, or another time he got a nothing ball and that little dink into the corner just to keep his pack going forward. I think his decision making was excellent.”
Ireland’s next encounter is scheduled for Friday, March 10th in the Principality Stadium or better known as the Millennium Stadium. They will face a Welsh side looking to avoid three defeats in a row after losing to England and most recently to Scotland.