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joy of sex ‘I trained fully today with the group, thankfully’ – Johnny Sexton declares himself fit for Six Nations opener


Johnny Sexton is fit to captain Ireland against Wales on Sunday

Johnny Sexton is fit to captain Ireland against Wales on Sunday

Johnny Sexton is fit to captain Ireland against Wales on Sunday

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has declared himself fit and available for selection ahead of Sunday's Six Nations opener against Wales.

Sexton had been struggling with a leg muscle injury, but he trained fully with the squad today, and is in line to lead Ireland in Cardiff this weekend.

The news will come as a major boost to Andy Farrell, who will be able to call upon his talismanic out-half.

"I trained fully today with the group, thankfully, and got through that ok so all available for selection,” Sexton said.

"The group trained well today, the lads had a good hit-out at the weekend and we're looking forward to this weekend.

"It only feels like yesterday since we were finishing up the Autumn Nations Cup and a disappointing end to the last Six Nations campaign for us. In many ways, it has been good - we've hit the ground running, it doesn't feel like we've gone backwards. We've taken up where we left off in the last campaign, which is great."

Ireland have failed to notch a Six Nations win in Cardiff since 2013, and although Wales have had their issues under new head coach Wayne Pivac, they remain a serious threat this weekend.

"It's a tough place to go," Sexton reasoned.

"All Welsh teams are tough to play against at all times but especially in Cardiff. There's not many teams that go there and get a win, we haven't done it in a long time.

"The last time we won it, the first game we ended up having an injury crisis and we came second last so it wasn't a great campaign even though we got it off to a good start, so hopefully we can start this weekend in the same fashion and then keep things going.

"We honestly haven't spoken a day past Sunday or thought of a day past Sunday. Everything has been geared up towards this Wales game and we know how important it is to build a bit of momentum in this tournament.

"The way we can start that is by putting out a good performance, first and foremost, and hoping the result takes care of itself if we can play really, really well. We're going to have to if we want to beat a Welsh team away from home."

One thing that may play into Ireland's hands is the fact that Wales won't have 80,000 passionate home fans behind them at the Principality Stadium this weekend.

However, Sexton urged a note of caution, adding: "You can look at it that way, definitely. You can also look at it sometimes when you play there, the crowd are so passionate about the game. I remember that game in 2013, we got on top early and we were playing really well and the crowd got on top of the Welsh team at that stage.

"So sometimes if you start well and things are quiet, that can work in your favour. It's going to be quiet now but it is what it is. We're well used to playing in empty stadiums at this stage so it's not something we've even spoken about.

"Cardiff is traditionally one of the best places to go and we wish we did have 80,000 crazy Welsh people in there shouting because it creates a great, special atmosphere and a very special game. We'll miss them but we haven't spoken about it being a leveller."

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Online Editors