Sexton an outside bet for France

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 20:02
Large jonathan sexton ireland 630 Large jonathan sexton ireland loo Large jonathansextonplace kick

Ireland's hopes of having Jonathan Sexton fit in time to face France in the Six Nations in Dublin a week on Saturday are fading.

Ireland's hopes of having Jonathan Sexton fit in time to face France in the Six Nations in Dublin a week on Saturday were fading following the latest injury bulletin on the flyhalf.

Sexton missed the 12-8 defeat by Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday with a hamstring injury.

Ireland hoped to welcome back the Leinster playmaker and goal-kicker for their clash with France who, against all predictions, are bottom of the table after three straight defeats.

But Ireland team manager Mick Kearney delivered a gloomy forecast on Thursday, saying of Sexton: "He's back running this week but to reach match level intensity there's still significant work to do.

"At this stage we are more hopeful than confident of his availability for France. We would say it's somewhat less than fifty-fifty."

Ireland, beset by injuries, have seen their Six Nations campaign implode with back-to-back defeats by England and Scotland after a win over champions Wales.

Losing at Murrayfield was all the more damaging as Ireland had more than 70 percent possession and territory.

Ireland coach Declan Kidney's decision to entrust goal-kicking duties to debutant flyhalf Paddy Jackson (deputising for the injured Sexton), even though he is not the first-choice kicker at Ulster, backfired spectacularly with the 21-year-old off-target with three out of four attempts.

In such a close match, the loss of eight points was crucial and led to renewed questions about the future of Kidney, whose contract is up at the end of the season.

However, Kidney insisted he had not been pondering his own position.

"I haven't been thinking about that," he said Thursday. "My only concern is to help this team do as well as they can do. That's my reason for being here. We have a match against France next weekend and that's all I'm concentrating on.

"There are huge highs and lows that go with this job and last Sunday was a big low, especially after having created so much."

Kidney has also come under fire for handing the captaincy to Jamie Heaslip, who replaced the vastly experienced Brian O'Driscoll as skipper before the Championship, but the coach re-iterated his faith in the Leinster No.8.

"I'm aware there are frustrations out there. Jamie's done an excellent job for us. He's making good decisions and I'm very happy with him," Kidney said.

AFP

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 26 August 2016
Golden Lions v Boland 15h00 Johannesburg
Pumas v Griquas 17h10 Kimberley
Sat, 27 August 2016
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Wellington
EP Kings v Western Province 14h00 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Blue Bulls 16h10 Durban
Argentina v South Africa 17h40 Salta
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 20 August 2016
South Africa v Argentina 30 | 23
Golden Lions v Griquas 24 | 30
Australia v New Zealand 8 | 42
Fri, 19 August 2016
Blue Bulls v EP Kings 49 | 35
Western Province v Free State Cheetahs 25 | 32
Boland v Sharks 20 | 41
Sat, 13 August 2016
Free State Cheetahs v Blue Bulls 43 | 20
Golden Lions v Pumas 68 | 26
Fri, 12 August 2016
Sharks v Griquas 46 | 24
EP Kings v Boland 10 | 28
Sat, 06 August 2016
Boland v Free State Cheetahs 16 | 44
Hurricanes v Lions 20 | 3
Fri, 05 August 2016
Pumas v Sharks 10 | 33
Blue Bulls v Western Province 45 | 26
Sat, 30 July 2016
Lions v Highlanders 42 | 30
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 5 0 132 10
Wales 5 3 1 1 7
Ireland 5 2 1 2 5
Scotland 5 2 0 3 4
France 5 2 0 3 4
Italy 5 0 0 5 0