Sexton to drop Owen Farrell 'a line' after All Blacks clash
SPOTLIGHT: Ireland captain Johnny Sexton paid tribute on Wednesday to Owen Farrell who is set to become only the third English player to reach the 100 cap milestone saying “his leadership is outstanding”.
Sexton reached that landmark against Japan in November last year and his British & Irish Lions teammate from the 2017 tied series with New Zealand should do so on Saturday.
England coach Eddie Jones is expected to name his team to play the All Blacks on Thursday.
“Outstanding,” said Sexton of Farrell at his press conference on Wednesday.
“He’s been an amazing player for England over the years and how good he is, you can see it when he’s not there, when he was missing.
“He’s that glue that keeps the team together.
“I’ve played with him and been in a dressing room with him where his leadership is outstanding.”
Sexton – who declared himself fit to face Australia in Ireland’s final Test of the year on Saturday having recovered from a dead leg – said he would be in touch with the son of the Ireland head coach Andy Farrell.
“He goes into an even more unique place – there’s not many English players who got to 100 caps,” said Sexton, who is one of eight Irish players to have done so.
Only scrumhalf Ben Youngs, who has 119 caps and is on the bench against Japan, and retired prop Jason Leonard, with 114, have reached the century for England.
“I think it’s only two before him, so it’s an amazing achievement for him.
“I’ll drop him a line at some stage and say congrats. A great ambassador for that team.”
Sexton and Farrell are both ultra-competitive and the Irish talisman admitted it is not always sweetness and light between them.
“We’ve had a few run-ins as well so it’s not as cosy as everyone would think!” Sexton said.
“But no, he’s a great competitor. Utmost respect for him and he’s a guy that I’ve looked at closely over the years.
“Lucky enough to have played with him and I’ve tried to take some of his game and put it into my game.
“My words won’t do him justice, I don’t think.”