Sexton: Ireland eager to avenge World Cup defeat

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton says his team has to respond to the 2019 World Cup loss to New Zealand when they host the All Blacks in Dublin on Saturday.

Saturday’s Test will be the first time that Ireland face the All Blacks since the humbling 46-14 loss in the World Cup quarter-finals in Tokyo, where New Zealand tore the Irish defence to shreds by scoring seven tries.

Ireland did manage to record their maiden win over New Zealand in Chicago in 2016 and beat the All Blacks on home soil for the first time in 2018.

However, Sexton wants to improve his country’s meagre record when the two teams clash again this weekend.

“You always want to put your name in the history books and that was our chance to do something that no Irish team had done before,” Sexton said on the 2016 win.

“It was amazing and then to back it up a few years later – any team can do a one-off but we wanted to back it up and show that it wasn’t a fluke.

“It obviously brought us back down to earth in our last game against them, so we’ve got to respond.

“Nothing ever comes easy against them, that’s what happens when you’re [playing] the best in the world, you have to go and work for it, and we’re willing to work. We’re just trying to give it our best shot.”

Photo: Getty Images

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Dylan Jack