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"Don't run the risk" | Brian O'Driscoll on Sexton captaincy decisions

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

16:26 12 Feb 2020

Brian O'Driscoll believes that Johnny Sexton will learn lessons from Ireland's victory over Wales last weekend, citing a penalty incident and frustrations with the referee.

O'Driscoll will be speaking to OTB AM on Thursday morning after Ireland's successive victories over Scotland and Wales in the Six Nations, and attention turned to Sexton's nascent captaincy.

"At times, you could understand why he came in a little bit frustrated at one or two decisions," said O'Driscoll.

"When you look back at the video, from both sides' perspectives, there were some questionable ruck calls.

"It seems like sometimes it is a bit of a free-for-all under Poite.

"I thought Johnny grew into the game, he got better in the second half.

"Johnny Wilkinson made a really good point - maybe the time to go harder at the referee is when you have scored, rather than when the opposition has scored.

"Sometimes, you have to take your foot off and accept that they have got a bit of momentum.

"There is no point antagonising the referee because it is almost reinforcing that he thinks the other team is in the ascendancy when you get frustrated and annoyed.

"Sometimes, that is the time to let something go. Johnny will learn that with time, understanding you can't have a go every time that you get annoyed.

"You have to pick your moments and pick your battles."

Brian O'Driscoll on Sexton

In particular, a period in the second-half where Sexton was confronted with options from a penalty, O'Driscoll believes Sexton made the wrong call.

"There were a few things where you look back and they were sliding doors moments.

"There was a penalty five minutes into the second half, where you had two penalty options - one on the touchline and one around the 15.

"It was a 12-7 game. If you knock that over, it was a two-score game. Yet he went for the more difficult penalty in the corner and van der Flier scored the try.

"Don't run the risk. You have got to score the line-out, make sure that the line-out maul is good enough."

Positives and negatives

As for the potential options, O'Driscoll said that he would have gone for the posts in that situation.

"Two scores is where you want to get to. There is a security that comes with two scores, it doesn't matter how it comes.

"Granted, I think he knocked over the conversion so that it was 19-7. It's a twelve-point game, but that is still two scores.

"The way Ireland were defending, that is a difficult line to break. Discipline was only OK.

"Because there was a try, no-one will talk about it, but they are things that you have to look back at and wonder 'should I have done that?'

"I, personally, would have kicked at goal."

O'Driscoll was also keen to clarify that the nature of watching rugby at arm's length means that the viewers err towards focusing on the negative rather than the positive.

"There were probably quiet things that he was saying to Roman Poite that we were oblivious to that helped us get into the game, or helped him to build his relationship with Poite."

The full interview with BOD can be seen on OTB AM on Thursday morning from 7:30am 

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