Johnny Sexton ready to lead; How John Delaney inflicted a decade of austerity

The Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the Rugby World Cup with The Irish Times sports team

Johnny Sexton talks at an Ireland press conference in Kobe. Photograph: Inpho

Johnny Sexton talks at an Ireland press conference in Kobe. Photograph: Inpho

Given Japan’s victory against Ireland on Saturday night, Scotland do not just need to win their remaining games, but earn bonus points too if they intend on emerging from pool A. That starts this morning as they take on a motivated Samoa keen to punish them for weighing in on the tackles debate, which resulted in three match bans for both Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu’u. As for Ireland, Johnny Sexton says he is ready to lead the team against Russia on as they bid to recover from the ‘hurt’ of their shock defeat: “Hopefully I’ll get to go out this Thursday with the boys and we can put in a performance we can be proud of, and more importantly, put us in a good position to get into the quarter final.”

Former referee Owen Doyle writes in his column this morning that Angus Gardner did not affect the result but the breakdown was a Japanese free for all: “I lost count of the number of times that the Irish poacher was taken out illegally. One of these upended Peter O’Mahony who was then penalised for going off his feet.” While Liam Toland (Subscriber Only) believes Japan gave Ireland a lesson in how to value the ball: “Japan also had much more speed, accuracy and width in their game approach. No lumbering one-out slow carrying from a standing start. In fact if they can solve their 10th-phase error count they will do even more damage.”

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