Big Game

Johnny Sexton_ Paul O’Connell ‘assured’ Eire captain’s understudies can shine at highest degree


With 19 caps to his title, Ross Byrne is probably the most skilled of Eire’s back-up fly-halves

World Cup warm-up match – Eire v Italy Date: Saturday 5 August Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Kick-off: 20:00 BST Protection: Dwell textual content updates, match report and response on the BBC Sport web site & app

Eire forwards coach Paul O’Connell says he’s assured Johnny Sexton’s fly-half understudies can shine if known as upon within the Rugby World Cup.


Sexton’s suspension for this month’s warm-up matches has given Ross Byrne, Jack Crowley and Ciaran Frawley the chance to show their price.

The trio have simply 22 caps between them however O’Connell insists they’re able to tackle the largest stage.

“I would be assured in all of them,” mentioned O’Connell.

“One of many strengths we’ve got is that we have good readability on how we’re making an attempt to play the sport and the gamers must take possession of that readability rather a lot.

“You do determine a man that is uncertain very, in a short time. However all of our guys know the way we need to play.”

Whereas Leinster’s Byrne, 28, has deputised capably for Sexton up to now, 23-year-old Munster out-half Crowley has simply three Eire caps with Byrne’s provincial team-mate Frawley but to line out at this degree.

And whereas Sexton will return from his three-match ban in time for Eire’s World Cup opener in opposition to Romania on 9 September, he has not performed since March.

The 38-year-old’s absence leaves his back-up trio with a golden likelihood to impress head coach Andy Farrell earlier than the match in France within the tune-up video games in opposition to Italy, England and Samoa.

“They do not have as a lot apply at it or as a lot expertise as Johnny has of taking possession of it however that is why these few weeks might be nice for them,” added O’Connell.

“We play otherwise to Munster and to Leinster and the fellows which can be there however there may be a number of similarities as properly so it is nothing massively new to them.

“They’ve all pushed the ship for his or her provinces in large, large video games and executed rather well. There’s a bit little bit of a tweak to how we do issues and so they’ve received to choose that up.”

World Cup choice ‘not all or nothing’

O’Connell performed for Eire at 4 World Cups and joined Andy Farrell’s set-up as forwards coach in January 2021


Sexton has continued to coach as a part of Farrell’s 42-man preliminary squad, which might be trimmed to a remaining 33 on 28 August.

Whereas disappointment lies forward for 9 gamers, O’Connell – who represented Eire at 4 World Cups between 2003 and 2015 – has urged those that miss out on choice to not be too disillusioned.

“It is not all or nothing,” mentioned the 43-year-old.

“You hope that by being in right here, coaching with us, coaching with good gamers, that gamers are bettering and so they’re taking a look at their alternative to get an opportunity, to attempt to get picked for the World Cup and, if they do not, that they break in sooner or later.

“All of them need to go to the World Cup for certain, however choice for the World Cup shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing factor.

“I am certain loads of guys are going to be disillusioned.

“They’ve their sights set on getting their probabilities and taking it however I believe they’re all going to be higher on the again of this pre-season.”