Jamison Gibson-Park likens ‘impressive’ Ireland star to Johnny Sexton

David Skippers
Jack Crowley Ireland Six Nations 2024 - Alamy.jpg

Ireland fly-half Jack Crowley.

Ireland scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park admits that it’s “weird” not having Johnny Sexton around as their chief playmaker but is delighted with the way how Jack Crowley has risen to the challenge of replacing Sexton.

Crowley has been entrusted to start at fly-half in Ireland’s first two Six Nations Tests against France and Italy and showed that he is more than capable of filling Sexton’s big boots with two fine performances in bonus-point wins for his country.

And Gibson-Park has been impressed with the way the Munster pivot has adapted to the rigours of international rugby.

‘Full of confidence’

“It’s been pretty impressive to watch,” Gibson-Park told the Irish Mirror. “He’s full of confidence, and you see that in his performances.

“I wish I had that much confidence when I was his age, but it’s the same as a lot of the young guys.

“They’re all the same these days – they’re unbelievable in how they prepare, and someone my age takes some inspiration from them.

“It’s pretty awesome working alongside him.”

Sexton is Ireland‘s leading points-scorer in Test rugby – and arguably the country’s greatest ever fly-half – and Gibson-Park sees similarities between him and Crowley.

“He’s pretty diligent in his preparation, that would certainly be one comparison,” said the 31-year-old.

“He’s got to the stage where he is filling other people with confidence around him, and we all know how good he is.

“Hopefully, we’ll see a bit more of it over the next few weeks.”

Gibson-Park was part of a superb half-back partnership with Sexton at Leinster and Ireland and revealed that he has stayed in touch with his former team-mate since his retirement after last year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

“I actually caught up with him the weekend after the French game,” added Gibson-Park. “It was good to catch up; a few of us had dinner with him, so that was nice.”

Unusual without Sexton

The 31-year-old revealed, however, that it’s quite unusual not to have the 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year around for club and country.

“Yeah, it is weird,” agreed Gibson-Park. “Someone of his stature, and the impact he’s had on Irish rugby – then all of a sudden, it’s just the game rolls on with or without you.

“So it’s strange for us, but I’m sure it’s even trickier for those guys post-career. You try to keep the contacts with him.”

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