6N: Sexton believes Ireland can spoil Wales Grand Slam party
DUBLIN (AP) — Jonathan Sexton believes Ireland is the right team to spoil Wales’ Six Nations Grand Slam party.
The flyhalf says Ireland’s achievement in ending two of the biggest winning runs in test rugby history is enough proof that they can upset the odds again on Saturday in Cardiff.
Wales has won a national record 13 successive tests since losing to Ireland in February last year in Dublin.
Ireland ended New Zealand’s best winning streak of 18 tests in November 2016 in a 40-29 victory in Chicago, and ended England’s own best winning streak, also 18, in March 2017 in a 13-9 triumph in Dublin.
“I don’t know if Wales feel like they’re invincible, they’re saying that they’ve forgotten how to lose and all of that,” Sexton said on Tuesday.
“They’ve eked out some results, (but) we’ve played well against teams that have gone on runs before — New Zealand, England — stopping their runs.
“We’ll give them the respect that they absolutely deserve. We’ll analyze them, we’ll talk about where we can get at them, where we think they are very strong, and we’ll come up with a plan.”
Ireland has an outside chance of retaining the championship by beating Wales, then hoping England lose to Scotland in the last match. But most of the pressure is on Wales to deliver a first Grand Slam in seven years on its home turf.
“From talking to some of the Welsh lads on previous tours, the expectation in Wales is huge all the time and it will be at its highest this week to get a Grand Slam. They don’t come around too often,” Sexton said.
“They will be under pressure, but so will we. We want to finish on a high and win a championship. We still have a shout and we know that if we get a performance then the pressure is on England, and then you never know what might happen.”