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Cutting-edge coaching underlines Red Roses' supremacy

New Zealand's World Cup triumph should not mask the true order of the women's game.

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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