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Does Johnny Sexton still have what it takes for Ireland at the World Cup?

The Rugby Pod kicked off a new season with discussion primarily focusing around the World Cup warm-up games. One of the hot topics of debate centred around the match between Ireland and Italy where the men in green came away victorious in a scrappy affair.

The match was marred by a Joey Carbery injury which left the Munster fly-half sidelined for six weeks. This opened up the topic of 10’s getting injured for their teams on the Rugby Pod and Jim Hamilton raised his concerns about Johnny Sexton’s injury record.

Hamilton spoke openly on the first podcast of the season, questioning whether Leinster fly-half Sexton was at the level that he was at when he won the World Rugby Player of the Year award in 2018.

Hamilton said: “I just don’t think Sexton’s at the level anymore, I really don’t. I think that that’s the issue Ireland have got. If he’s fit they will pick him because he’s so important. Looking back on last season I’ve never seen a player go down that much in a season in all my life.”

Sexton has struggled with injuries throughout the latter stages of his rugby career, and he is currently battling with a suspected thumb injury. It was reported by the Irish Independent that Sexton dislocated his thumb, an injury that would require between four to six weeks of rehabilitation.

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There are no concerns regarding Sexton’s availability for the tournament, which Ireland kick-off with a fixture versus Scotland on September 22 in Yokohama, but it is a setback that their influential talisman will be absent for some time from the training ground.

If  Sexton continues to struggle with injuries and Carbery’s rehabilitation takes longer than the suspected six weeks, then Ireland could be left seriously lacking in the fly-half position.

 

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Does Johnny Sexton still have what it takes for Ireland at the World Cup?