Soccer

"Then you can't complain when you fall flat at a Rugby World Cup" | Damien Delaney's forthright take on Ireland and Sexton's future

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

03:21 11 Dec 2019

Rugby and the continued fallout from the World Cup is still rippling through the newspaper back pages.

Former Ireland football international Damien Delaney was on hand for the OTB AM Paper Review and he offered an interesting left-field perspective on the oval ball and where Ireland go from here.

For example, Delaney shared his view on Ireland's talisman Jonathan Sexton. On Tuesday night's Off The Ball, ex-England out-half Stuart Barnes said that if Sexton is still Ireland's No 1 out-half in two years, "he's either a miracle man or Ireland are pushing things too far".

"But he's 34. Is he going to play in another World Cup?" said Delaney on Sexton's long-term international future.

"So why not build towards a World Cup in four years' time?

"When all those lads lost form in the year of the World Cup, Joe Schmidt was faced with a choice. 'Do I stick with what I have or do I change it up completely?'

Tried and Trusted

"He probably looked at the lads who would've been available for him to change it up and gone, 'None of them have really been tested at this level. I'll stick with the tried and trusted and hopefully in a World Cup, we'll get those guys' adrenaline going and they'll perform in a World Cup'. So is it not time we move on and find the next Johnny Sexton?"

But it's unlikely the Six Nations will be completely de-prioritised during the coming Rugby World Cup cycle due to commercial considerations among others.

"So you're prioritising income over the World Cup?" Delaney queried.

"Then fair enough, go out and play Johnny Sexton as many games as you can. Then you can't complain when you go and fall flat and peak two years out from a World Cup. I'm sorry but you've got to move on.

"If everyone's upset at not winning at a World Cup, then you've just got to say, 'We're building for a World Cup. Let's blood Joey Carbery. And if he's not fit, we find another out-half'. Who knows, you might unearth a diamond."

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Damien Delaney Football Johnny Sexton Off The Ball Otb Am Rugby Rugby World Cup Sport

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