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'Testing yourself against the best': Foley excited about showdown with Sexton

By AAP
(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Neither age nor injury are slowing down Johnny Sexton, with the talismanic playmaker set to return to lead top-ranked Ireland against the bruised Wallabies.

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Sexton is poised to win his 110th Test cap after recovering from a leg knock to rejoin training ahead of the clash at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Sunday (AEDT).

The Wallabies need a victory – or at least a strong showing – against the world No.1 team to restore pride following last week’s historic loss to Italy.

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Sexton, 37, continues to set the benchmark for five-eighths, and was this week nominated in the elite four-man field for World Rugby’s men’s player of the year.

Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley said facing the Irish captain would be “special”.

“It just shows that age is just a number, doesn’t it?,” Foley said.

“The thing about Johnny, he’s ultra-competitive and he must be doing everything right to keep himself at the top of his game.

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“He’s looking after his body, he’s still got world-class game management and skills so to see him doing it is great and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“I’ve got to try and make the most of every game and this one is a special one, testing yourself against the best in the world.”

The Test will be Foley’s last of the year, with the 33-year-old rejoining his Japanese side with the tour-ending Wales match falling outside of the international window.

After being rested from the shock Italy loss last weekend, Foley said he would be out to again push his case for selection for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

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“We don’t know what players are going to be in the mix (for the World Cup) so I’ve got to try and make the most of every game,” he said.

“It’s really trying to make the most of it because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

Foley said the consistency of Ireland, who are gunning for a 12th straight home win, was something the Wallabies were striving for.

“Ireland have been the benchmark of consistency for a number of years and that’s probably why they’re No.1,” he said.

“That’s a great challenge for us, as a team we’re searching for that consistency.

“They’re going to be an incredibly difficult challenge but we’re embracing the opportunity to test ourselves against the best.”

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