Six Nations: Johnny Sexton looks to embrace the ‘good pressure’ of chasing a Grand Slam
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton is looking to embrace the pressure that comes with going for the Grand Slam ahead of a tricky clash against Scotland at Murrayfield.
Sexton’s side have been brilliant throughout this year’s Six Nations and are the only team unbeaten after winning their opening three games against Wales, France and Italy.
Looking for a Grand Slam as skipper
The veteran was part of the 2018 outfit that claimed Ireland’s third-ever Grand Slam but now looks to do it as captain of the side.
“Pressure is pressure,” he said. “It’s been there for the last 10, 15 years in various forms. This is a good pressure.
“You’ve one shot, you want to do well.
“But at the same time it’s not about me, it’s about the team and building and trying to do something that we set out to do. That’s ultimately what it’s about.”
The veteran wants his teammates to embrace the opportunity to claim the elusive Grand Slam as the opportunities are few and far between.
“It’s about embracing it, it’s about realising that it’s not always like this,” he said.
“Going back a couple of years, we’d lost our first two games and we were fighting for a bit of respect, a bit of pride, whatever.
“So it’s not always like this. You’ve got to cherish it. Where else would you rather be? Would you rather be fourth and playing for nothing?
“It’s where we want to be. You can’t get away from that so it’s just about driving home process, driving home performance, driving home the things that matter.”
Preparing for battle
Sexton was in the stands for Ireland’s Six Nations clash against Italy at the Stadio Olimpico and said he has had to train well to ensure he is ready for the Murrayfield clash.
“You’d rather be playing, for sure,” he added.
“I think what you learn is, you have to prepare well, you have to train well, you have to try and put yourself into game situations to taking training seriously, even your kicking practice and stuff like that. Making sure you’ve got a real focus to it.
“I suppose the thing that you don’t get to replicate is the intensity but you try and train hard and make sure you’re as well prepared.
“But nothing ever comes close to Test match rugby. But look, I’ll be ready come Sunday. Like you said, I’ve had longer breaks.
“Luckily I’ve had a couple of games under my belt since the face injury, so yeah, it’s not ideal, but it is what it is.”
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