Schmidt: Sexton recall not guaranteed

Joe Schmidt insists Paddy Jackson has done enough to ensure Johnny Sexton will not be an automatic selection for Ireland’s Six Nations clash with France.

Ulster fly-half Jackson equalled the Six Nations record of nine conversions in one match in a flawless kicking display as Ireland thumped Italy 63-10 in Rome.

Head coach Schmidt confirmed he expects Sexton to be fit to face France in Dublin on Feb. 25 after calf trouble, but he admitted the British and Irish Lions playmaker could now have to battle Jackson for the start.

Schmidt said: “Johnny has proven that he can come straight back into a side and hit the ground running, and he’s done that for us on other occasions.

“I guess this window has allowed Paddy to put his hand up and say, ‘Well, that shouldn’t be an automatic choice’.”

CJ Stander celebrates scoring a try for Ireland against Italy. Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

CJ Stander and Craig Gilroy scored hat-tricks, Keith Earls claimed a brace and Garry Ringrose ran over once as Ireland coasted to a nine-try victory and secured their maiden Six Nations bonus point in just 34 minutes.

Robbie Henshaw suffered a dead leg and Rob Kearney a biceps injury, but Schmidt moved to downplay both concerns.

Schmidt said: “Robbie just got caught on the thigh. There’s no doubt he could have played on, but in the context of a 35-10 scoreline, we just felt that if you’ve got a bruise like that you do have a greater potential to get a soft tissue injury. He doesn’t have that.

“I think Rob got the point of an elbow on to his biceps. I didn’t really have a chance to talk to Rob. Over the next 48 hours, we’ll have further clarity.”

Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/18667315/johnny-sexton-six-nations-recall-not-certain-ireland-coach-joe-schmidt
Schmidt: Sexton recall not guaranteed
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