Fly half Johnny Sexton has shunned claims Ireland have peaked too soon and says they can cause damage at the World Cup. Ireland had a superb 2018, winning the Grand Slam and series win in Australia and duly climbed up to second in the world rankings with real optimism that Joe Schmidt could guide them to a first-ever World Cup win.
However, they performed well below par in the spring Six Nations tournament, finishing third with many believing they had been found out. An historic home win over New Zealand last year is now long in the memory as damaging defeats to Wales and England in the Six Nations could leave an impact ahead of the autumn World Cup, which is being held in Japan.
However, Sexton says their poor form could work in both ways, as they will have something to prove. “I don’t think we have peaked,” says Sexton. “I didn’t think we’d peaked when we won the Grand Slam and I didn’t think we’d peaked when we beat the All Blacks either. “It’s amazing how opinions can change in the space of a couple of months.
“We beat the All Blacks and all the talk was ‘nothing’s going to stop us winning the World Cup’ and then three or four games later, we’re the worst team ever and people think we’ve peaked. “We’ve got time together now to really work on things through the summer.”