• Home
  • /
  • Rugby
  • /
  • Sexton Explains Why He's Having More Fun Than Ever Playing For Ireland

Sexton Explains Why He's Having More Fun Than Ever Playing For Ireland

Sexton Explains Why He's Having More Fun Than Ever Playing For Ireland
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
Share this article

Johnny Sexton "100 per cent" feels this period in his Ireland career is the most fun he's had in a green jersey. He also believes it's the best Ireland team that he's been involved with.

"It does come with a little bit of experience in terms of knowing you've got to make the most of it," Sexton, who is set to retire after the World Cup later this year, told The Good, The Bad, & The Rugby podcast.

"It's the best environment that I've been involved with, the best group of lads I've been involved with. It's the best playing group I've been involved with. I've been blessed to play with Ireland's greatest players - O'Driscoll, O'Connell, O'Gara - but these guys are right up there with them. We've got great camaraderie - it's almost like a club team atmosphere in the camp.

"If one person has to take credit for this team it's [Andy Farrell]. He's revamped everything since the last World Cup. He basically tore everything up and started again.

"We didn't see the benefits right away because it always takes time when a new coach comes in with new ideas in terms of the environment, how we play. We're only starting to see the benefits of it over the last 18 months, but this is his vision.

"He picked young guys in 2019, stood by one or two of the older guys like me, Pete [O'Mahony], Keith Earls, Conor Murray and kept them in the environment. What he's done in terms of the rugby, he's an outstanding coach. He knows the game, he knows people.

"He hasn't changed one bit from being an assistant to a head coach. Not every coach would do that. They feel that when they become head coach, they have to change in a certain way. They can't have a beer with the lads or enjoy the party with the lads, but he's the life and soul of the place even as the head man."



Sexton said that Farrell "empowers" the players.

"It's not just me it's the leadership group," said Sexton.

"It's expanding every year when Andy feels they deserve to come in. This year, Caelan Doris and Hugo Keenan have come in. They're obviously very young, relatively inexperienced in international rugby - 15 - 20 caps each - but they've added massively to it. It's that, it's the environment he's created where everyone has opinions. He wants people to be themselves.


"He's brought in some wild and wonderful characters, Mack Hansen comes in and he's able to be his strange self and add to the environment and everyone loves him for it. I can't compare him to anyone. I've never come across anyone like him before. He's added so much to the place; on the field, obviously, but off the field entertainment as well has been second to none. [He's a little like] an Australian-born version of Sean O'Brien! He's a good character.

18 March 2023; Ireland head coach Andy Farrell and his players before the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

"I'm saying all this... I was Joe Schmidt's biggest fan as well and it's not one size fits all. This is what Andy has done, he's having success with it now. I loved working with Joe as well and I don't want to say everything was bad under him, we had some great success."

Sexton added that Ireland's draw for the World Cup in France is the "toughest" they've ever had for the tournament.

"We've got South Africa, Scotland, Tonga," he said.


"It's going to be three unbelievably tough pool games, and then if we get through that, we get to play New Zealand or France in the quarter-finals. We've got to keep our feet on the ground and realise that being number one in the world doesn't count for anything come World Cup time."

See Also: Johnny Sexton 'Really Felt' For Ronan O'Gara During Six Nations Celebrations

johnny sexton ronan o'gara six nations celebrations

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are now subscribed!

Share this article

Copyright © 2024. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com