Sexton vs Farrell: Dan Carter fields the Lions selection dilemma

Former All Blacks legend was speaking to Off The Ball's Nathan Murphy

BY Raf Diallo 16:55 Wednesday 14 June 2017, 16:55 14 Jun 2017

As the first test against New Zealand on June 24th approaches, the British and Irish Lions still have choices to make in certain field positions.

One of those will be at out half where England's Owen Farrell is perceived to be in favour ahead of Ireland's Jonathan Sexton, whose form issues was discussed by Eddie O'Sullivan on Tuesday night's Off The Ball.

Warren Gatland could also play both players in the same field with Farrell at centre and Sexton at 10.

What way should the Lions head coach go? Former All Blacks legend Dan Carter was in Dublin for the launch of the SoftCo Foundation alongside Ronan O'Gara and Off The Ball's Nathan Murphy put the Farrell-Sexton start conundrum to him.

"I originally thought Farrell. He's probably the most in form player of the last season or two in Europe and I just thought the way he directed the team in the last 20 minutes against Crusaders show what a classy player he is and he's a great leader of the team," he said.

"But then having someone like Johnny that is also a fantastic player as well and you want him to be setting tries up and directing the play. Having playmakers like that, there's a benefit as well. So I'm at a bit of dilemma at the moment.

"The thing is there are no midfielders that are really standing out. I don't even know who they're going to pick as a line midfielder in the midfield. If there was one Lions midfielder who was leaps and bounds ahead of the rest, then I'd go with Sexton and Farrell and then that midfielder.

"But because there isn't that one person, I think you're going to have to try and build a combination at 12 and 13 together. Who it is I'm not sure and we're looking at having Farrell playing and then as the game develops, hopefully for you guys, that they can match the All Blacks and potentially be ahead with 20-30 to play and bring on a Sexton. You've got two fly-halves controlling the game and closing the game out. I think that's where your strength is."  

But he does predict that the Sexton-Farrell combo will be seen by the end of the Lions series.

Today, June 14, SoftCo, the leading finance automation software provider, with the help of ambassadors Dan Carter and Ronan O’Gara, officially launched the SoftCo Foundation at a star-studded gala dinner in Dun Laoghaire Golf Club where more than €150,000 was raised for charity and a further €100,000 committed for ongoing Cancer Research. The Foundation has selected three charities to partner with for 2017; CMRF Crumlin, The Irish Injured Jockeys Fund and Guys Cancer, London. Visit www.SoftCo.com for more information

Off The Ball

Newsletter

The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week