Ireland: Johnny Sexton eyes Rugby World Cup title after Six Nations success

Colin Newboult

Ireland hope to make it a double delight by following their Six Nations triumph with Rugby World Cup glory.

Andy Farrell’s men secured just their fourth Grand Slam in their history by overcoming England 29-16 on Saturday, following on from the 1948, 2009 and 2018 successes.

No one got near the Irish in this competition, with the closest margin of victory 13 points.

They now head into the World Cup full of confidence and as one of the favourites for the Webb Ellis Cup.

Ireland have previously struggled at the global tournament but they look a much more assured outfit heading to France later this year.

Farrell has done a superb job in changing around their fortunes after a disappointing 2019 and Sexton reserved praise for the head coach, as well as admitting that their work is not completed.

Still very popular

“Since day one, he’s put his own stamp on it,” Sexton said of Farrell.

“The best thing about him is he hasn’t changed one bit from going to assistant to head coach. He’s still very popular even with the lads he doesn’t pick.

“We’ve been able to bounce back from when I let myself down when I got taken off against France. That was probably the low point, the real low point.

“And this is a high point but I hope it’s not the highest point.

“(He’s) a very special coach. When you have him, Paul O’Connell and Simon Easterby, Catty (Mike Catt), John Fogarty motivating you during the week, it’s a pretty special dressing room to be a part of.

“So all credit to him really for putting it together and roll on the World Cup, that’s what we need to focus on now.”

Bigger fish to fry

Farrell agrees with Sexton and insists that there is still room for improvement ahead of the World Cup which starts in September.

“I’ve just been saying to Johnny that there are bigger fish to fry than this,” the head coach said.

“We’re a good side that’s nowhere near reached its potential and I’ve kept saying over the last weeks that that’s what we’re striving to do.

“Everyone is going to get better in the summer.

“We get to spend a lot more time together so we expect our side when we get to the first game of the World Cup to be a lot better than we are know and that’s the reality.”

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