Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll gives his verdict on Johnny Sexton’s performance against Romania

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The great Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll was impressed by Johnny Sexton’s return to action following the team’s victory over Romania.

Sexton scored 24 points during his time on the field, which included seven conversions and two tries in what was his first match in almost six months.

The fly-half played over an hour before he was replaced by Jack Crowley in the final quarter as Andy Farrell’s men secured a huge 82-8 triumph over the Oaks.


O’Driscoll described Sexton’s performance as “unbelievably impressive”, and felt that he got up to speed quickly despite the lengthy absence.

“He just continues to constantly shine. When any element of doubt creeps into people’s minds he shoots it down immediately,” he said on ITV.

“He is anticipating line breaks, he never shirks the defensive side of his game, he was taking the ball aggressively to the line, clearing out rucks in places you don’t want to see your 10 more often than not.

“The great thing with Johnny is he picks the right option more often than not. When you have two or three options, defences can’t cover them all. So if you pick the right one, you will get people into holes to pick up scores from it.

“The relentlessness and ruthlessness of Ireland was really impressive. Considering they are all a little undercooked with their warm-up games, this added to their fitness levels, to their confidence and their momentum. It sets them up nice for the rest of the pool.”

Gets more difficult from here

Ireland know that tougher tests await with games against Tonga, South Africa and Scotland, but it was still a fine way to begin their World Cup campaign.

“We are delighted the result and to get a points difference like that,” Sexton said following his superb return. “We knew it was going to be a tough game at the start with Romania being very physical and they didn’t let us down in that respect.

“There is a lot of stuff individually that I need to get right and until you are in the heat of battle in a proper match, it doesn’t test you properly.

“I am delighted to get some minutes under my belt and we know there is a much tougher task coming against Tonga and then against South Africa and Scotland.”

READ MORE: Ireland v Romania: Five takeaways from 12-try Rugby World Cup drubbing

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