Eddie O'Sullivan has an answer for the current Johnny Sexton question marks

Ireland out half is not a likely starter in the first test against the All Blacks and is trying to recapture form

BY Raf Diallo 21:56 Tuesday 13 June 2017, 21:56 13 Jun 2017

Lions' Owen Farrell and Jonathan Sexton celebrate winning ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

One of the recent subplots as the British and Lions tour gathers steam has been the form of Ireland out half Jonathan Sexton.

At present, it seems that head coach Warren Gatland will go with England's Owen Farrell at No 10 against the All Blacks and it's a point ex-Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan concurs with as he detailed on Off The Ball.

"I think he's going to pick a 10 and Farrell has an edge there," O'Sullivan began on the possibility that Gatland could consider the option of starting Sexton at 10 and his England counterpart as a centre.

"If both of them aren't on fire, I think he's going to go with Farrell I suspect. But the problem is for Johnny, the clock is ticking."

O'Sullivan also tipped Wales' Dan Bigger to have a potential say in the race to start at out half.

He also considered where the shortfall in form for Sexton may be coming from as the June 24th first test against New Zealand begins to loom ever larger.

"I just think he seems at the moment that every time he's in heavy contact, it seems to take a lot out of him. He seems rattled in contact situations," said O'Sullivan.

"When he's in those big collisions - he's hugely brave and he's not shirking anything and maybe at times should be more sensible - he goes flat into it whether he's carrying the ball or he's making a tackle. He's flat in there but I think those contacts are taking a lot out of him at the moment. It seems to rattle him a bit.

"And I suppose the other thing is that if he had the back end of the season back, he might have played more rugby - he might have got more games under his belt at the back end of the Pro 12. I think maybe he was rested too much and that affected his form on the run into the Pro 12 semi final and then when you lose 2% at this level at this time of the year, it's very hard to get that back."  

You can listen to the full chat on the podcast player and you can find Rugby on Off The Ball on iTunes right here.

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