Sexton confident battling Irish can have last word - International - Rugby Union - The Independent

Sexton confident battling Irish can have last word

 

Jonathan Sexton was unable to kick Ireland to a maiden Test victory over New Zealand in Saturday's gripping second Test in Christchurch, but he is desperate for one more chance to defeat the world champions.

The fly-half kicked 14 points and stood out as Ireland's most potent threat, yet fell short with a penalty attempt from the halfway line which would have put the men in green three points ahead.

His kick came up agonisingly short and instead Dan Carter, his opposite number, slotted over a drop goal in the final minute to secure a 22-19 triumph for New Zealand and a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

"We're pretty disappointed with the result," admitted Sexton. "It is a tough one to take but we've got one more Test against them, so we need to bounce back one more time.

"We saw a big improvement from the first to the second Test but I still think we made a lot of mistakes out there. We can improve again and we need to come back stronger," he added.

The scene was set in the early stages for an Irish display that would surpass their performance at Eden Park in the first Test, where they had admitted that they had let themselves down during a 42-10 defeat. And, with nine minutes played, the referee, Nigel Owens, blew for a penalty following an All Black infringement at a maul.

Sexton had a swift discussion with his captain, Brian O'Driscoll, before deciding to kick for an attacking line-out, rather than take the three points on offer. The decision was vindicated a minute later when scrum-half Conor Murray – who gave a confident account of himself – raced over to score.

"We had a very good, driving maul beforehand," Sexton said. "Brian asked what I thought we should do, so I said, 'put it in the corner'. We decided to go for it and it paid off, obviously, and put a bit of pressure on the All Blacks."

Sexton revealed that there was an abundance of confidence and positivity in the Irish dressing room at the break, as his side led 10-9, but, disappointingly after all their hard work, they allowed New Zealand to edge in front. "We gave them a very soft try straight after half-time, which was the worst thing we possibly could have done," Sexton said.

"We went six points behind but I was proud of the way we bounced back from that."

Sexton and his team-mates recognised that it was a safer option to retain possession and attempt line breaks rather than play for territory. "The referee was awarding the team with the ball a lot and it was hard to get the ball back," said Sexton.

"He wasn't rewarding the team in defence, it was more penalising them. When we began to hold the ball again in the second half we looked good and we got a few penalties."

Richie McCaw, the New Zealand captain, admitted he was relieved to get away with the win: "We made mistakes and let them get momentum. We have got things to work on, but at the end we are happy."

Scorers: New Zealand: Try: A Smith. Conversion: Carter. Penalties: Carter 4. Drop goal: Carter. Ireland: Try: Murray. Conversion: Sexton. Penalties: Sexton 4.

New Zealand: I Dagg; Z Guildford, C Smith, A Williams, J Savea; D Carter, C Smith; T Woodcock, A Hore, O Franks, B Retallick, S Whitelock, A Thomson, R McCaw (capt), K Read. Replacements: H Elliot, O Franks, A Williams, S Cane, P Weepu, A Cruden, C Smith.

Ireland: R Kearney; F McFadden, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy, A Trimble ; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D Tuohy, D Ryan; K McLaughlin, S O'Brien, J Heaslip. Replacements: S Cronin, D Fitzpatrick, D O'Callaghan, P O'Mahony, E Reddan, R O'Gara, S Zebo.

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week