Sexton like Carter – Payne

Date published: March 6 2015

Jonny Sexton has been likened to Dan Carter by teammate Jared Payne, who believes the Ireland fly-half is world class.

Sexton has made a seamless return to Test rugby after three months out with concussion problems, hitting top form against France before following that up with another cracking display in victory over England.

His importance to Ireland was underlined when he had to come off against the English, with Joe Schmidt's team looking uncomfortable without their talisman.

And Payne, who played against Carter regularly when he was with the Blues in Super Rugby, believes his current teammate and Test rugby's record points-scorer are very similar.

"They (Sexton and Carter) are able to control a game incredibly well and they’re just two players who always have time on the ball," said Payne. "They’re quality players and I imagine they would hold each other in high regard.

"They’re both very similar, they’re pretty relaxed and get their message across.

"Jonny is world-class. He’s one of the best 10s, if not the best, in the world at the moment. In terms of his range of skills and his game control he’s right up there with players I’ve played with and against."