Rugby

Johnny Sexton must start for Ireland against Italy - Alan Quinlan

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

10:54 18 Feb 2019


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Written by John Morley

With the Italy test approaching Ireland will be hoping to continue their success in Scotland with another win to get their Six Nations championship back on track.

The least-daunting tie facing Joe Schmidt's side, Alan Quinlan shared his contrary view on who the New Zealander should select as his starting fly-half. 

Seen as the obvious game to afford Joey Carbery a starting berth, the former Munster man believes it is Johnny Sexton who should start against Conor O'Shea's Italy. 

"I’d start Sexton and I’d try and get him and Murray humming again and give him the couple of weeks that are in it," Quinlan suggested on Monday's OTB AM. 

Quinlan pressed that game time was vital for Sexton in this Six Nations as we prepare for a World Cup campaign.

"If Johnny Sexton doesn’t play against Italy he will have only played 80 minutes," said Quinlan.

"Seventy or seventy five against England and the fifteen against Scotland. He will have played the guts of a hundred minutes since Christmas.

"I just think he needs games really,”

The World Rugby Player of the Year has been the target of big teams in the past, with the Scotland and England matches being no different, but it is only in injury that Quinlan would put Carbery in the mix ahead of Sexton.

"I know he’s taken a couple of heavy knocks. Obviously if there’s a problem with his HIA [he shouldn’t start]," Quinlan conceded. 

Sexton failed a HIA after receiving a stamp to the head in the Scotland game but Joe Schmidt said that he expects a “quick recovery” for Sexton.

Ireland versus Italy kicks off form 4pm at the stadio Olimpico with live coverage across OTB networks.

 

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Alan Quinlan Irish Rugby Football Union Joey Carbery Jonathan Sexton Six Nations

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