Ireland rugby star Johnny Sexton is embracing the “positive pressure” of potentially becoming a Grand Slam-winning captain as he approaches his probable swansong in the Guinness Six Nations tournament. Sexton is part of Andy Farrell’s in-form side, which is in pole position for the title and on course for a clean sweep ahead of its clashes with Scotland and England. The veteran fly-half appeared relaxed ahead of Ireland’s visit to Murrayfield, saying, “pressure is pressure…it’s been there for the last 10, 15 years in various forms. This is a good pressure.”
Ireland has clinched the Grand Slam title on three occasions in Six Nations history, most recently under Sexton’s leadership in 2018. The player, who is expected to retire after the World Cup, has urged his team-mates to “cherish” the rare opportunity they have to achieve Grand Slam glory: “You’ve got to cherish it. Where else would you rather be? Would you rather be fourth and playing for nothing? It’s where we want to be. You can’t get away from that so it’s just about driving home process, driving home performance, driving home the things that matter,” said Sexton.
Despite a groin injury that kept him out of the round-three win in Rome, Sexton is expected to return to action at Murrayfield. He admits that a four-week break between games is “not ideal” but is confident it will not be a major issue. Ireland leads the championship standings following bonus-point wins over Wales, France and Italy.