“It’s about embracing it…where else would you like to be?”


JOHNNY SEXTON has always been seen as a player with strong mental skills, something he says wasn’t focused until later in his career.

Sexton had to show resilience when trying to break out first with Leinster. He was not always destined to be World Rugby’s Player of the Year. Remember, after he left school, he worked as an office assistant at Friends First before he started his progress at Leinster.

Sexton stuck with it and became one of the greatest players of all time. But even the best can get better. So when Leinster teammate Isa Nasewa told him about Gary Keegan in 2018, Sexton’s interest was piqued.

Sexton had already worked with Ireland’s mental skills specialist Enda McNulty leading up to the 2019 World Cup, but Nasewa said he should speak to Keegan.

“This guy is a little different,” Nasewa told him.

Sexton has had a few sessions with high performance expert Keegan and hasn’t looked back since.

Of course, Keegan has recently worked with Ireland and has had a great deal of influence. I was.

“He’s been great for the team,” Sexton said. “He’s been great for a lot of people. From a team perspective, he’s been great.

“His record speaks for itself. Being involved with a very successful boxing team for a long time in Dublin’s Gaelic football team has been a huge success for us too.”

Johnny Sexton Celebrations Winning With His Children Luka Sophie And Amy

And Sheridan / INPHO
Sexton and his children Luca, Sophie and Amy.

Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Sexton admits Ireland international Farrell asked for Keegan’s help, admitting his team needed to work on the mental skills area after the 2019 World Cup disappointment. .

The Irish captain also points to recent examples from Wales and New Zealand that people like Keegan could be most important in the rugby environment. They may not be able to, but their research on mental skills is invaluable.

Professional rugby players are all elite, so small differences can often be mental, as Sexton appreciates more later in his career.

“If you don’t know about it, you can’t focus on it,” he says.

Now Ireland’s spiritual challenge is a tempting one. He is two wins away from his fourth Grand Slam on the island. Most expect to seal the deal by defeating Scotland in Edinburgh this Sunday and England next Saturday.

Sexton’s message to the team is clear.

“It’s about embracing it,” he says. “It’s about recognizing that this isn’t always the case. [to 2021]lost the first two games and was fighting for a little respect, a little pride.

“So it’s not always like this.

Exclusive Six
national analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis on Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

become a member

“It’s where we want to be. There’s no escaping it, so the process of going home, the home performance, just taking home the important things.”

“You have to play well. That’s the most important thing. The weather. [in Edinburgh] It may be cold and rainy like today. This is something we haven’t faced yet and we have to show that we can win in those situations. ”

Jonathan Sexton

And Sheridan / INPHO
Sexton returned from a groin injury on Sunday.

Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Since this seems almost certain to be Sexton’s last Six Nations campaign before retiring, there must be a strong sense that this task needs to get done.

He points out that he’s been under pressure his entire career. The pressure to improve at Leinster, the pressure to pass Felipe Contepomi and Ronan Ogarra, the pressure to find your best form, the pressure to come back from injury, the pressure to get him back. The pressure of having to fight for a place in

“Pressure is pressure,” says Sexton. “It’s been there in many ways for the last 10, 15 years.

“This is good pressure. You have a shot, you want to do well. But at the same time, it’s not about me. That’s about it in the end.

“This is to achieve. This is the pressure you want and we’ve been through it many times. The good thing about this group is that we’ve had some big games that we haven’t won and I think it’s because we’ve had some big games that we’ve won over the last few years.

“I think we know what it takes. It’s if we can go out there and make it happen.”

#embracing #it…where