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Negativity around Ireland team "strange", says Sexton

Jonathan Sexton has said the Ireland camp are aware of the "strange" criticism of the team during...

Jonathan Sexton has said the Ireland camp are aware of the "strange" criticism of the team during this year’s Rugby World Cup so far, but says comparisons with the 2007 campaign were well wide of the mark.

"A lot of the negativity around us we feel has been strange but we're confident and we're positive in how we're playing," he said, speaking at the team hotel in Fukuoka today.

“It’s not a talking point, it’s something that we just get a sense of. We get texts saying ‘keep the head up, we’re still behind you.’ You get a feeling that there are some things out there that aren’t great.

“We know that things weren’t great. It’s funny, some people tried to compare it to ‘07 when they just scraped past Namibia and we beat Russia 35-0. How there could be comparisons there I’m not quite sure; totally different conditions.”

Ireland will go into this weekend’s World Cup quarter-final with a fully fit squad, in stark contrast to four years ago. Sexton says that the injuries led to a week of reduced quality in training, and not just on match day.

The only doubt will surround the availability of Bundee Aki who is set to set before an independent disciplinary committee in Tokyo today. The hearing takes place at 11.30 am Irish time.

The Ireland team have all travelled back to the capital today, with the side based once again in Chiba prefecture, situated east of Tokyo.

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