All in the Scrum: Johnny Sexton still after his Triple Crown

A youthful Ireland have silverware beyond their years but Sexton has a word of warning

Out half Jonathan Sexton says that Ireland need to take their chance at a Grand Slam "with both hands" as England loss to France confirms Ireland as Six Nations champions.

 

Johnny still after his Triple Crown

On Saturday after Ireland’s win and England’s defeat to France Johnny Sexton spoke in Aviva Stadium about not taking things for granted when he had just come in to the Irish team in Grand Slam year 2009. He added that despite Irish success he still hadn’t won a Triple Crown.

Given the success in recent years with Joe Schmidt and his three Championships, it is not hard to see how those thought patterns may exist among the current batch of players.

The team Schmidt put on the field on Saturday against Scotland was phenomenally inexperienced for an Irish Six Nations side.

Eight of the players that took to the pitch are just beginning their international careers with outside centre Garry Ringrose the only one of that set with his caps in double figures.

Only Rob Kearney and Rory Best were involved in the match day squad when Ireland won the Grand Slam match in Wales in 2009.

Before the Scotland game the cap count for the youth wing of Team Ireland Inc. ran Bundee aki (5), Garry Ringrose (11), Jacob Stockdale (7), James Ryan (6), Dan Leavy (7), Andrew Porter (5), Joey Carbery (8) and Jordan Larmour (1). All now with a championship in their laps.

Curtis and Mullin keep it in the family

International players Dave Curtis and Brendan Mullin have been giving back to rugby in the only way they know how. The two backs played together in the Irish midfield in the 1991 Rugby World Cup with Curtis at inside centre and Mullin outside him.

Roll on 25 or 30 years and Brendan’s son Gavin also plays at 13 and was part of last year’s Irish Under-20 side, while Dave’s son Angus has played in all the Under-20 matches so far including the Donnybrook Six Nations Championship win over Scotland last Friday night.

Born in Zimbabwe, Curtis senior, whose father also played for Ireland post-war, made his Irish debut in the 1991 Five Nations before teaming up with Mullin in the World Cup. Not a bad family contribution.

Jager the Crusader

If there wasn’t enough rugby showing on Saturday, the Hurricanes Super Rugby match against Crusaders threw up a blast from the past, when Oli Jager came on as a replacement at tighthead prop.

Prior to Super Rugby Jager attended Blackrock College, where his aptly named father, Harm, was the strength and conditioning coach. Harm previously represented the Netherlands men’s national water polo team and is said to have been mainly responsible for giving Oli his 6 ft 10 inch frame.

Interestingly when he finished at Blackrock in 2013 Jager left Ireland for New Zealand and the Crusaders International High Performance Unit.

Jager made his Super Rugby debut against the Reds in 2017 and made five appearances for the Crusaders during their title-winning campaign.

Scotland produce universal concussion rules

The IRFU recently launched its revamped concussion information wallet card. But surely Scotland are showing the way in recognising concussion is a general sports injury not one particular to rugby. Scotland became the first country in the world to produce a universal set of rules for all sports to follow.

The guidelines were originally drawn up by the Scottish government’s chief medical officer, leading medics and several of the country’s sporting bodies. Last Tuesday an updated version of those guidelines was released broadening the awareness and reinforcing the all in approach.

Quote of the weekend

“I still haven’t won a Triple Crown,” Johnny Sexton warning players about thinking trophies will fall into their laps.

2 - Jacob Stockdale scored two tries in the first half, from the two passes he received from two different players on two different teams - Blair Kinghorn and Garry Ringrose.

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