Ronan O’Gara has asked whether Johnny Sexton has enough minutes under his belt to be at the top of his game.
Speaking on Wednesday Night Rugby, O'Gara addressed the situation ahead of Ireland's match against Russia on Thursday - a game where Sexton will likely captain the side.
While the out-half was not expected to feature against the Russians originally, O’Gara is not worried that Sexton would be wasting his energy in the game.
“There’s no reason that he can’t be doing it. Look at Kieran Read. He’s playing 80 minutes against South Africa, he’s playing 80 minutes against [Canada].
“He’s been playing 80 minutes ever since he’s come back playing with the Crusaders.”
“That age isn’t a barrier. I think a lot of these guys probably don’t have enough minutes of rugby in them,” O’Gara said.
The former Munster player was worried that Sexton has not played enough recently to be properly prepared for the rigours of a World Cup.
“Ireland are going to need Johnny Sexton to be performing at the top of his game. But has he had the right conditions to prepare to be at the top of his game?
“I wouldn’t be too sure. The World Cup is a hard place to be starting form going into it. It becomes even more difficult if you’re 34 going into it,” O’Gara commented.
Better performances needed all round
Sexton has stepped up to the plate in big games before with little previous game time and O’Gara was confident that he could do it again.
However, one man cannot win a rugby game and he will need the players around him to also up their performances.
“I think a player of Johnny’s mental capacity, he can do it. But the reality is, if Johnny was on the pitch against Japan would they have won? [Japan] probably would have won.
“There’s another 14 players that have a responsibility. And another 22 players as well. I don’t think it ever comes down to [one man].
“Even the five injuries that happened in the last World Cup against Argentina - the deficit was over 20 points. So there’s more to it than that I would think,” O’Gara said.
Ireland will hope to secure a big win over Russia in Kobe City to get their World Cup back on track.
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