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Johnny Sexton eager to finish 2022 on a high as Ireland target a record-equalling win

The under-pressure Wallabies arrive in Dublin with coach Dave Rennie under huge pressure at home after they slipped to a historic first defeat to Italy last weekend.

Jonathan Sexton during an Ireland rugby press conference during the week at IRFU High Performance Centre in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

Rúaidhrí O'ConnorIndependent.ie

IRELAND captain Johnny Sexton is hoping for a ‘special’ night at the Aviva Stadium as the world’s No 1 side look to round off a memorable 2022 with a win over Australia.

The under-pressure Wallabies arrive in Dublin with coach Dave Rennie under huge pressure at home after they slipped to a historic first defeat to Italy last weekend.

Sexton and Ireland are hoping to win their 12th successive home game, a result that would equal the record set by Joe Schmidt’s side in 2018.

After their Six Nations Triple Crown and the series win over New Zealand last summer, the home side are eager to close out the season in style.

“It’s a big end to the season, it’s been a decent year up to now and we want to finish strong,” Sexton said.

“A lot of what we talk about is improving week on week and we didn’t do that last week, so we have a bit of work to do this week against a good team.

“Performance is the key for us, it’s something we get judged on the Monday morning after every game. That’s something we need to concentrate on, it takes the result out of the equation.

“It’s going to be a great occasion, we’re not used to 8pm kick-offs here so it should be a special atmosphere. We’re looking forward to it.”

Ireland attack coach Mike Catt believes Andy Farrell’s side have major improvements to make.

“Andy’s always spoken about performance. It is about the individual performance but collectively as a team, how together can we be and really go after teams in terms of what we’re about,” Catt said. “I think we showed that against South Africa in certain aspects, especially defensively, but our attack hasn’t fired yet so that’s something we’d like to, well I’d like to see us get right tomorrow night.”


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