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Rob Kearney refutes Tony Ward's Sexton critique

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

15:08 5 Mar 2019

Rob Kearney has played down suggestions that Johnny Sexton's temperament is having a negative impact on the Ireland squad.

Former Ireland out-half Tony Ward had opined that it was an issue. Writing in the Irish Independent, he said, "Sexton's behaviour in Rome - and I don't care if he is World Player of the Year - was unacceptable. Real leaders support team-mates, particularly in moments of crisis. To excuse that tantrum, with Jack Carty making his debut, as "part of me" is just not good enough."

Sexton's Ireland and Leinster team-mate Kearney addressed those comments at today's press conference.

"That's Johnny isn't it. We're all a little bit used to it. We all get very frustrated and we all show our frustration in different ways," he said.

"Certainly, I don't think it's having much of an effect."

The experienced full-back also added that Sexton, in fact, drives standards.

France

"It's good. It drives standards and Johnny understands the game very well. He's very clear in terms of how he wants to play it," he added.

Ireland's performances in the Six Nations have been under par thus far. Kearney believes much of that comes down to psychology.

"Some of the basics that perhaps let us down in the Italian game, you do extras at the end of training," he said.

"Just little things to get your confidence going again. Sport is very, very psychological. And sometimes in those games and probably particularly in the Italian game, a lot of the mistakes and the fact that we went into our shell a little bit and showed a bit of anxiety, it's all psychological."

Kearney also feels France will smell blood against a vulnerable Ireland. The two sides go head-to-head in Dublin in Round 4 of the Six Nations.

"We're probably going to get the best French performance we've seen in the Championship so far," he said.

"They'll probably sniff a little bit of blood. And that's sport, isn't it? If you're analysing an opposition team that aren't fully firing at their very best, that's what happens."

You can watch the full press conference above via our YouTube channel. You can also watch Ronan O'Gara on Monday Night Rugby here.

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Read more about

France Ireland Johnny Sexton Off The Ball Rob Kearney Rugby Tony Ward

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