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‘He’s the captain, I can’t see how he won’t go’ – Ronan O’Gara on Sexton and Irish trip to New Zealand

Former Ireland out-half Ronan' O'Gara says there is no better place for players to lay down a marker than in the hardest venue in world rugby - New Zealand. Photo: Sportsfile

Cian Tracey

Ronan O’Gara says he cannot see a situation whereby Johnny Sexton does not travel to New Zealand with Ireland for this year’s summer tour.

Last month, Brian O’Driscoll suggested that Sexton (36) may be left at home in order to keep fresh and build depth ahead of next year’s World Cup.

However, while O’Gara agreed with O’Driscoll that there needed to be more clarity on the out-half situation following the three-Test Series against the All Blacks, the La Rochelle head coach believes Sexton will still have a major role to play in New Zealand.

“He’s the captain, I can’t see how he won’t go,” O’Gara said. “It’s a time for people to make their mark. This is the place to do it. New Zealand is one of the hardest venues in world rugby to achieve something.

“Yes, it’s Johnny Sexton, but I don’t see how it’s a difficult conversation for Andy Farrell either way because he’s the boss, he does what he sees is fit for Irish rugby and for Johnny Sexton and for the team, knowing that Johnny is an integral part of the setup.

“I think you need to have someone to start for 50 minutes, Johnny to play the last 30, or Johnny to play the first 50. It’s very hard on the human body. We know it breaks down when you keep pushing it. That’s not an opinion, these are probably a few medical facts.

“What’s important by the time you come home from New Zealand is you have a clearer picture of the out-half scenario, the tighthead scenario, the loosehead scenario, and the five back-rows you want. ”

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