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Johnny Sexton's verdict on getting the Pieter Steph du Toit treatment

By Ian Cameron
Johnny Sexton receives attention on the pitch from a medic - PA

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has alluded to what it is like to be targeted by Springbok bruiser Pieter Steph du Toit following Ireland’s 13-8 win over South Africa in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup.

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The win puts Ireland in a strong position to top the pool and face a likely quarter-final against the All Blacks, with Scotland next up in two weekends’ time.

A lot of the pre-match talk was about how blindside du Toit would come after the ageing Ireland flyhalf, who only recently returned to the Test arena following a near six-month hiatus care of a combination of both injury and suspension.

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“Pieter-Steph [du Toit] is one of the best back rows in the world and he made his presence felt,” said Sexton after the game. “It was a very physical game, a lot more collisions than our first two games. I’m proud of the lads to front up. There were a lot of mistakes, but we just brushed them off. Plenty to work on, though.”

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Sexton ranked the win as right up there among the greatest away wins in Irish history.

“That’s right up there. It was incredibly tough but we fronted up. We’ve got to make it count now, regroup with the bye week and make sure we do the business against Scotland.

“Now it’s all about Scotland – an excellent team. They’ll be frustrated with how they played against South Africa, but we struggled to get our game going against South Africa too.

“I’ve never ever seen a crowd like that. Someone said there were 30,000 [Irish fans], but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were 60,000. They probably save for four years to come here. We play for them and they gave us the edge tonight.”

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The storied veteran admitted he struggled with the pace of the game and was left to watch from the sidelines after coming off mid-way through the second half.

“Not good, I was struggling in the latter end of the game. It was a different pace [to the other pool matches].”

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Comments

4 Comments
A
Allan 301 days ago

The SA coaching team are still using lights to tell the players on the park what to do. How, in any shape or form, is the WRU allowing this unfair form of match interference to continue?

C
CO 302 days ago

Sexton is a legend, the way he ran hard at the line and nearly scored was impressive. Ireland's going to be a massive handful with Sexton and Bundee paired together. The forward pack is up to the task.
As an Allblacks fan the reality is we require a huge upset to beat this team with our ongoing weak loose forward starting selection.

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Jon 3 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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