Johnny Sexton admits parts of Ireland’s performance in the Guinness Six Nations defeat to France fell below international standards but remains “convinced” the team is progressing under head coach Andy Farrell. Skipper Sexton missed the 15-13 loss to Les Bleus which effectively ended Irish title hopes due to a head injury – with James Ryan and Conor Murray both out injured too – but will be fit to return against Italy on Saturday.
“There are lots of examples that we have gone through as a team and said that it wasn’t good enough for international standard,” said the fly-half, who suffered a head knock in the opening weekend defeat to Wales,” Sexton said. “And, despite all of those things, we still came within a penalty away from winning the game.”
“The coaches have come in, they’ve done a fantastic job. It’s very different to what it was before, but we will be better for this going forward, of that I am convinced,” he added. “If we talk about World Cup cycles – I might not be part of the full cycle – this group will definitely be better for this type of coaching and structures.”
“I am good to go. I am available for selection,” he concluded. “I was very disappointed to miss out on the French game. It was a game I really wanted to play in but I just didn’t quite get there, didn’t hit the return to play protocol markers, so I had to wait a little bit longer.”