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'You Get Texts, 'Keep The Head Up. We're Still Behind You'

'You Get Texts, 'Keep The Head Up. We're Still Behind You'
By Balls Team Updated

Johnny Sexton hopes that having lost to Japan in the pool stages of the World Cup, there are no more blanks left in Ireland's chamber ahead of their quarter-final against New Zealand this weekend.

"We kind of thought beforehand that it was going to be a big ask for us not to play New Zealand," Sexton said at a press conference on Monday.

The final whistle went and guys just said, 'OK, as expected' and off we went to bed.

I'm hoping that having lost a pool game, we've got that quarter-final performance out of our system that we've had in other years.

The way we played against Japan was similar to the way we played against Wales and Argentina in the last two quarter-finals. The difference is we're not favourites going into this quarter-final like we were in the last two.

New Zealand are used to dealing with that pressure. I watched that documentary they did on Amazon where they're beating teams by 40 points and still getting slated at home.

The Ireland squad are aware of pessimism regarding their form at the World Cup. However, he said it has not been a talking point among the group.

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"It's just something that we get a sense of," said Sexton.

"When you get texts saying 'Keep the head up. We're still behind you', you get a feeling that there are some things out there that aren't great.

"Shuckers (IRFU communications manager David Ó’Síocháin) gives us the lowdown before we come in here [for a press conference] about what to expect. We know that things weren't great.

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"It's funny, some people trying to compare things to '07 when they just scraped past Namibia and we beat Russia 35-0, how there can be comparisons there, I'm not quite sure - it's totally different conditions."

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

See Also: Hansen Starts Mind Games With Schmidt Ahead Of Quarter-Final

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