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Sexton's 'training collaboration' in Portugal is a 'double edged sword' | ANDY DUNNE

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton's 'conditioning training session' in Portugal could be a 'double edged sword', according to former Leinster outhalf Andy Dunne.



Ireland captain Johnny Sexton's 'conditioning training session' in Portugal could be a 'double edged sword', according to former Leinster outhalf Andy Dunne.

In spite of serving a three-match ban for his actions towards referee Jaco Peyper at the Heineken Champions Cup final in May, Sexton got a number of vital contact minutes under his belt on Wednesday in Portugal.

The behind closed doors 'match', which was referred to as a 'conditioning training session' by Ireland assistant coach Simon Easterby, took place on Wednesday as a way to get the Irish captain match fit for their World Cup opener against Romania in just under a month's time.

The 38-year-old has not played since Ireland's Grand Slam win over England in March. However, while it is important to get contact training in, Andy Dunne feels there are natural dangers to the unofficial 'match'.

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Sexton's 'training collaboration' match

Speaking on Wednesday Night Rugby, Dunne discussed the 'training collaboration' taking place in Portugal.

"I think these types of training games are a double edged sword," Dunne said. "Sorry, 'training collaboration'. I think Easterby made a very fair point: when you're doing XV on XV within your own squad, lads are making calls, no matter what way they cover their mouths, people anticipate what's going on and start to shut each other down.

"Going up against the Portuguese team in a 'controlled collaboration', you're getting two teams with totally different setups and there's scope for more realistic game-like situations."

However, Dunne added the reasons why he would be concerned for not only Sexton, but other members of the squad, as there is still a risk of injury in these sessions.

"It only takes one hero who wants to make a mark in the session to show his own coaches he's up for it physically, and then suddenly it becomes an all-out match," Dunne said.

"Then people are going hard at it. I've seen a number of these sessions and been a part of them in the time I had as a player, and someone just pulls the plug. But I think it's a smart way around getting Sexton some contact training and meaningful stuff against an opposition player in the absence of his presence in the warm-ups."

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