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Johnny joy I salute centurion Sexton, but fear for Andy Farrell's Ireland against the ferocity of the All-Blacks

Despite a decent performance against Australia last weekend this was not a good Japanese team

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Ireland's Jonathan Sexton embraces his sister Gillian after victory over Japan at Aviva Stadium

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton embraces his sister Gillian after victory over Japan at Aviva Stadium

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton embraces his sister Gillian after victory over Japan at Aviva Stadium

FIRSTLY, let me salute Johnny Sexton on becoming a centurion.

What a servant he has been of Irish rugby.

My heart was in my mouth every time he went into contact in the early stages yesterday. I was fearful of him getting injured.

The prospect of Ireland facing the All Blacks next weekend without him is unthinkable.

But his attitude for the hour he was on the field underlined why he is such a terrific player. It was as if he was earning his first cap and felt he had everything to prove.

Don’t forget he had to get Ronan O’Gara off the Irish team back in the day.

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Andrew Conway of Ireland scores his side's eighth try against Japan

Andrew Conway of Ireland scores his side's eighth try against Japan

Andrew Conway of Ireland scores his side's eighth try against Japan

But 100 caps later Johnny is still there. Fair dues to him. He made his special day all the more memorable by getting over for a try.

He got a terrific reception from the crowd and he deserves every second of it.

No wonder he was so emotional afterwards.

The problem for Irish rugby is what we do when he finally hangs up his boots. Unfortunately, we don’t appear to have an obvious replacement

Joey Carbery is a phenomenal talent but he has gone through his injury issues.

Still, it was great to see him coming on in the last 20 minutes yesterday.

As for the game – it was a terrific performance and a great win. But it was the worst kind of preparation for what we face against the All Blacks next Saturday.

It was way, way too easy.

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No blame can be attached to either the team management or the players. Ireland could only play what was in front of them.

Despite a decent performance against Australia last weekend this was not a good Japanese team.

We can never forget the fact that they beat so in the last World Cup in 2019. I was hoping it would be a dog fight with Japan pushing us all the way.

I wanted the game to be still in the melting pot after an hour. Then we could send on the seasoned campaigners we had on the bench and they would change things.

Unfortunately, by the time the replacements arrived the game was well over.

Basically, we learned nothing which is not ideal a week ahead of facing the All Blacks.

They scored 47 points against Italy yesterday they have now amassed over one hundred points in their last two internationals.

Don’t get me wrong Ireland have very talented players. At times the forwards showed exceptionally quick hands and one could only marvel at the way they were able to repeatedly offloads balls, particularly in the first half.

But as I watched it this nagging doubt persisted in my head. There is no way Ireland will get away with that against New Zealand.

The All Blacks don’t build scores, they punish opponents when they make mistakes.

So, if we try to offload the ball against them like we were doing against Japan and it doesn’t come off the chances are that it will end with a New Zealand score.

There wasn’t enough physicality in the Japan play to offer any real opposition our our pack.

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Jonathan Sexton of Ireland, left, is congratulated by team-mates after scoring his side's fifth try

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland, left, is congratulated by team-mates after scoring his side's fifth try

Jonathan Sexton of Ireland, left, is congratulated by team-mates after scoring his side's fifth try

It will be a totally different kind of challenge next Saturday and I’d worry that Ireland might be unprepared for the ferocity of it.

We conceded a try but otherwise it was a five-star performance and every single Irish player performed well. Hopefully, I will be writing this sentence after next Saturday’s game as well.

Andy Farrell now faces a bigger nightmare than he could ever have envisaged when he sits down to pick the team to face the All Blacks.

Jamison Gibson-Park and James Lowe who were under pressure after their performances in the Six Nations last season both did very well.

So, does Farrell pick them to start against the All Blacks? On yesterday’s form the answer would have to be yes.

Based on history, though, Keith Earls and Conor Murray – both of whom got game time – will be starting against the All Blacks.

When Ireland beat New Zealand in Chicago in 2016 and again two years later in Dublin the success was based on our physicality and accuracy.

Above all else, teams have to be clinical against the All Blacks. Absolutely everything has to go right in order to win.

At least we didn’t pick up any obvious injuries because we need our best team available next weekend.

Finally, I can’t let the occasion past with having a good old-fashioned rant about the colour of the Irish jerseys yesterday.

Every time I think about it I get more annoyed and the fans who were sitting around me in Lansdowne Road shared by views.

Where the hell did the colour purple come from? I read before the game that a special jersey was commissioned to mark Johnny Sexton’s 100th cap and rightly so.

But what marketing genius decided it should be coloured purple?

When I was growing up in Kerry I never dreamt of wearing the purple jersey for Ireland.

I keep thinking of the younger players on the squad who got their first cap yesterday. Take Dan Sheehan, for example.

He looks a special talent and a great prospect. But his first ever Irish jersey, which every player treasures, is a purple one.

My first Irish jersey is hung below in the clubhouse in Castleisland and I couldn’t be more proud of it.

Hopefully in years to come my grandchildren will take the same pride in it as I have.

It is a plain green jersey. I won it in the era before branding and sponsorship so all that’s on it is the crest.

Irish rugby has historic connections with the colours green, blue, white and red but I can’t fathom were the purple came from.

Hopefully it will be back to our traditional green jersey next Saturday when we welcome the All Blacks to Lansdowne Road.

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