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
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
News
i100
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor