British & Irish Lions
Sexton has his eye on the ball
Sun, 06 Jan 2013 12:52
I have loads of memories of the Lions
Jonny Sexton admits he is desperate to tour Australia with the British and Irish Lions later this year.
The Ireland and Leinster flyhalf is a front-runner to win a place on the plane Down Under in June.
He grew up watching videos of the famous tourists and now hopes to savour his own taste of the action.
"I have loads of memories of the Lions - the South Africa tour in 1997 and Living With The Lions, I think I probably watched it 100 times as a kid," Sexton said.
"Then Brian's try against Australia in 2001.
"I also watched the last tour to South Africa but that was a bit different because as a professional player I was envious that I was not involved. It seemed such a good place to be and involved in.
"It's something I desperately want to go."
But the 27-year-old Dubliner is well aware that he cannot afford to take his eye off the ball and must focus on matters closer to home.
"I need to concentrate on my week-to-week performances," said Sexton.
"People say it's the pinnacle and it is. Only the best players get picked and it will be a massive honour for anyone who is picked.
"Every professional playing in Europe will have that as a goal and it's very tough to do.
"It is something a lot of the guys at Leinster and Ireland desperately want but I try not to think about it."
Sexton scored 16 points in Leinster's 31-16 Pro12 win over Edinburgh at the weekend and now return to European Cup action.
His attention will then turn to the Six Nations which kicks-off with a trip to the Millennium Stadium to face reigning champions Wales on February 2.
And he is adamant that the new crop of Emerald Isle stars must take more responsibility.
"Playing with guys like Brian O'Driscoll has been an awesome honour," added Sexton.
"I can put a lot of other players in that bracket and you learn so much from those guys. But it is the time now for the young guys to come in and start taking ownership of the side.
"I found it tough over in the first couple of years because Ronan O'Gara had been that stand-off for the previous 10 years and 100 caps.
"It was tough to come in when the guys were so used to him and respected him so much. I wasn't sure if they would listen to me in the same way.
"They're the doubts you have as a youngster but I'm happy to come in now and drive the team forward."
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