Sexton urges Leinster to bounce back to form against Treviso
Outhalf admits the pressure is now on in Champions Cup after loss to Toulouse
Johnny Sexton and Sheila Moylette with Mark McGee and Martha O’Herlihy as the Ireland international yesterday announced a new partnership with MACE as a brand ambassador. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
There’s a maxim in sport that a team will learn more from a defeat and that the lesson can act as a galvanising influence going forward.
It’s not one to which Leinster captain Johnny Sexton would fully subscribe after the province’s defeat to Toulouse in the Heineken Champions Cup last weekend although he does concede that it offered a painful reminder that there is no leeway to let standards slip.
“If anything it [the defeat] puts the pressure on. All of a sudden Bath are back in it if they beat us at The Rec even though they lost their first [match] at home and drew the second. It makes it harder. I don’t think you need a bad performance to reset. It’s disappointing.
“It was always going to be the hardest part coming off the Wasps performance, trying to replicate that, but it was always going to be a different; these are all the things we spoke about before the game, we just didn’t cope well enough. We showed what we did for those 40 minutes, so it’s not like we couldn’t do it. It was just key moments, key mistakes cost us.”
He also offered an insight into his decision to kick towards the end of the match.
“It wasn’t working running it so I thought ‘let’s try and get the ball into their half and get a penalty.’ I got a little too much on the kick but if we got man and ball and it came to a ruck, they were slow back.
“But because he was able to get up on his feet and go again, it sort of stopped us. There is a lot of thought that goes into the decisions. If I kicked that ball against France [in the Six Nations last season] and Keith Earls didn’t have that great take, people would say, ‘why is he kicking the ball?’
“There are reasons why we kicked it; retain possession and worst case scenario get into their half, try and squeeze a penalty of them and a chance to try and win the game. So it wasn’t to be, but there were so many mistakes before that, it was like we got the three tries and expected the fourth to just arrive.
“It’s important that the club bounce back. Whoever plays against Treviso [this Saturday], they beat us at home last year, so already we’re pretty motivated going down there. We need to get back on track.”