Lions Tour: Leinster promise to look after Sexton

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 18:48
Large jonathan sexton ireland team photo 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Leinster have promised they will monitor Jonathan Sexton carefully in the closing stages of the European season ahead of the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Lions coach Warren Gatland is due to name his squad for the three-Test series against the world champion All Blacks on April 19.

Ireland flyhalf Sexton, a star of the Lions' victorious tour of Australia four years ago, has been tipped to be the combined side's first-choice No.10 in New Zealand - provided he stays fit.

The 31-year-old will be back on Leinster duty this weekend when the Irish province face English side Wasps in a European Champions Cup quarterfinal at Dublin's Lansdowne Road on Saturday - his first match since he helped Ireland deny England a Six Nations Grand Slam at the same ground earlier this month.

Sexton missed the start of the Six Nations with a calf problem and such is his importance to any side he plays for that, as happened against England, he usually gets subjected to some heavy duty tackling and more than his fair share of illegal hits.

But former England coach Stuart Lancaster, now a member of Leinster's backroom staff, expects Sexton to be firing on all cylinders against Wasps.

"Johnny is available," Lancaster said. "He's not had a great run of games this season, but when he has played he's been excellent, particularly in Europe.

"He's just been a bit unlucky with minor injuries - they've been nothing major and hopefully he'll get a decent run now until the end of the season.

"He'll be managed over the next few weeks. Johnny won't play every match but he's certainly fit and available for this one."

Lancaster added: "I wouldn't go as far as to say he'll be first choice for the Lions because there's a long way to go.

"He was frustrated to miss the first two Six Nations games because of the calf injury.

"To play as well as he did in the games that he did play, he has to be in contention for the Lions squad, not just because of his talent but because of his experience as well."

Meanwhile, Wasps coach Dai Young said he was confident his flyhalf, Danny Cipriani, would not get drawn into a head-to-head battle with Sexton in a bid to revive his own hopes of Lions selection.

Cipriani has not had a look in with England since Australian coach Eddie Jones took charge after the 2015 World Cup.

But there have been examples of players going on Lions tours while deemed surplus to requirements by their respective countries.

However, Young said: "The last thing from our point of view that we're going to turn this into is a Danny Cipriani versus Johnny Sexton competition.

"Every game is a chance for people to state their Lions case, but for us it's solely about making sure we play our game."

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
B&I Lions 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0
Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0
NSW-Queensland 0 0 0 0 0
Blues 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0
NZ Barbarians 0 0 0 0 0
Maori All Blacks 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0