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Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ireland Men's National Rugby Team News

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October 4, 2015 - Johnny Sexton kicks 3 penalties & a conversion in win over Italy
"Ireland booked a spot in the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday thanks to a hard-fought 16-9 victory over Italy at Olympic Park in London.... Allan's third penalty cut the gap to a single point and Ireland were under pressure but Sexton replied, with interest, following back-to-back breakdown penalties to make it 16-9 as the game entered the final quarter." - Planet Rugby
September 27, 2015 - Ian Madigan kicks 2 penalties & 4 conversions in 44-10 win over Romania
"Ireland moved back to the top of World Cup Pool D after a bonus-point win over Romania in front of a tournament record attendance of 89,267 at Wembley..... Madigan's goal-kicking - he landed six out of eight - but more importantly his game management suggests he is ahead of Paddy Jackson in the race to be Johnny Sexton's fly-half deputy." - BBC

September 19, 2015 - Johnny Sexton kicks and runs in win over Canada
"Flyhalf Jonny Sexton gave a masterclass in game management as Ireland asserted their Rugby World Cup title credentials with a thumping 50-7 bonus point victory over Canada in their Pool D opener on Saturday.... Sexton contributed nine points from the kicking tee in his 55 minutes on the pitch and scored the pick of Ireland's tries, racing 40 metres to touch down in the 28th minute after being set free by a neat inside pass from Sean O'Brien." - Sydney Morning Herald

March 21, 2015 - Johnny Sexton kicks 4 penalties & 3 conversions in win over Scotland
"Sean O'Brien crossed for a double as Ireland laid down the gauntlet to England with a comfortable victory over Scotland that moved them top of the 2015 RBS 6 Nations final standings. After Wales had run riot in Rome, Joe Schmidt's Ireland knew that only a 20-point margin of victory would be enough to overtake the Welsh in overall standings on points difference. And tries from Paul O'Connell, O'Brien (2) and Jared Payne, in addition to 18 points from the boot of Jonathan Sexton secured Ireland a record 30-point win at BT Murrayfield." - RBS 6 Nations

March 10, 2015 - Johnny Sexton cleared to play against Wales
"Fly-half Johnny Sexton has been cleared to play against Wales in Saturday's Six Nations showdown with Wales in Cardiff after passing a fitness Test on Tuesday. Irish Assistant coach Richie Murphy confirmed that the on-form playmaker had trained fully on Tuesday, after recovering from hamstring trouble." - ten Sport

March 1, 2015 - Johnny Sexton kicks four penalties & a conversion in win over England
"Sexton gave a 50-minute masterclass before he made way, forced off with a hamstring injury. By then Ireland were 16 points up, and the question wasn’t whether they would win, but by how many. In the end it was by 10. It would surely have been more if Sexton had been able to stay on longer. He only had a slight limp, and on another day may well have played through it. And he seemed to want to, judging by the way he tried to shake it off. But his head coach Joe Schmidt was taking no chances. How he must wish he could wrap Sexton in cotton wool till the World Cup comes around." - The Guardian

February 14, 2015 - Johnny Sexton kicks five penalties in win over France
"Johnny Sexton marked his return to action with a confident display, allowing Ireland to see off a stubborn French challenge 18-11. The Irish fly-half, after three months out, looked comfortable throughout, and his tactical kicking proved the difference between the sides. In a game marred by indiscipline at the breakdown, Ireland played more of the game in French territory, and were able to feed of their visitors' errors to grind out the win. Sexton kicked five penalties, with Ian Madigan also chipping in with a three-pointer, while France needed a late try from Romain Taofifenua to stay in touch." - Planet Rugby

February 7, 2015 - five kicks for Ian Keatley in win over Italy
"Two tries in three minutes while Leonardo Ghiraldini was in the sin-bin saved Ireland before they beat Italy 26-3 at the start of their RBS 6 Nations title defence. Conor Murray and Tommy O'Donnell sneaked scores while hooker Ghiraldini was off the field, after Ireland had laboured with scant return in a tryless first hour.... Ian Keatley landed four penalties and a conversion but failed to seize his chance to prove he deserves more time in Ireland's 10 shirt. The Munster fly-half was unable to boss his backline, all too often standing all too deep in attack: fit-again Johnny Sexton will doubtless return against France next weekend after 12 weeks missing with concussion." - Daily Mail

February 6, 2015 - Johnny Sexton cleared for France match
Johnny Sexton has been passed fit to return for Ireland’s second RBS 6 Nations match against France in Dublin on Saturday week. The Racing Metro fly-half will sit out Saturday’s Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome as he completes his enforced 12-week lay-off for suffering four concussions in 12 months. Munster’s Ian Keatley will win his fourth cap and make his Six Nations debut in Rome in place of Sexton, but the British and Irish Lions playmaker will now be available to face France on February 14. Ireland bosses confirmed Sexton was given the all-clear by Racing Metro medics on Thursday." - Irish Examiner

February 5, 2015 - Ian Keatley to start in Six nations opener
Munster fly-half Ian Keatley has been selected ahead of Ian Madigan for Ireland's opening Six Nations game against Italy in Rome on Saturday. Keatley, 27, will form a half-back partnership with provincial team-mate Conor Murray as the Irish begin their defence of their title. Johnny Sexton has been ruled out of the game as he ends a stand-down period because of a series of concussions.... 'Ian's combination with Conor Murray at Munster means they have a good understanding by playing together week by week,' explained head coach Joe Schmidt. 'It's a vote of confidence in Ian - his percentages of kicking success have been strong since Christmas so I have confidence he will kick well. Ian Madigan gives us that flexibility off the bench, being able to slot straight into 12 or 10. It was a tight decision'."- BBC

February 3, 2015 - the fly-halves for Six Nations
"Conor Murray insists Johnny Sexton's absence will not heap extra pressure on him to spearhead Ireland's attack in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opener in Italy. The British and Irish Lions scrum-half is 'through that first contact fear' after a month out with neck trouble, and should start against the Azzurri in Rome. The sharp tactician shoulders the brunt of the playmaking duties in a French-style half-back set-up at Munster, but does not expect a repeat at Test level this weekend. The 25-year-old said he is equally happy partnering Leinster's Ian Madigan or club-mate Ian Keatley, the two fly-halves vying to start in Rome while Sexton completes his 12-week concussion lay-off." - Belfast Telegraph

February 2, 2015 - injury updates
"Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray has recovered from a neck injury and is available to play against Italy in Saturday's Six Nations opener in Rome. Murray is back in full training, although number eight Jamie Heaslip is a concern because of a shoulder injury. Fit-again Sean O'Brien is available to face the Italians, but the flanker may not be risked as he makes his comeback from long-term shoulder problems. Cian Healy and Johnny Sexton are set to return against France on 14 February. Leinster prop Healy hopes to have recovered from his long-term hamstring injury by then, while Racing Metro fly-half Sexton is expecting the all-clear on Thursday for the France game as he completes his enforced 12-week lay-off after a string of concussions." - BBC

January 27, 2015 - no. 10 jersey update
"Johnny Sexton has been taking part in Irish training this week, at Carton House, and running set plays with his international teammates. The Racing M├ętro out-half, however, remains precluded from taking contact for two more weeks. Ireland assistant coach, Richie Murphy believes Sexton, who was stood down from rugby for 12 weeks in late November following concussion, would be able to resume playing duties for the February 14 visit of France to the Aviva. Murphy reiterated that the concussion call was made by Racing and had nothing to do with senior Irish management. He added, 'He’s trained today, done all the handling stuff, all the non-contact training and then a lot of fitness work as well. So he’s looking very fit and very fresh.' In the meantime, the battle for the Ireland No.10 jersey is a two-horse race [with inside centre Noel Reid as a fall-back option]. Murphy has backed Ian Madigan to overcome his goal-kicking jitters from last weekend, against Wasps, but has also pushed the case of Munster out-half Ian Keatley." - Sports Joe

January 19, 2015 - Paddy Jackson out for first Six Nations match
"Ulster fly-half Paddy Jackson will miss Ireland's Six Nations opener with Italy after dislocating an elbow in Saturday's defeat by Toulon. Jackson was forced off in the first half as Ulster were beaten 60-22 in the European Champions Cup game in France. Ulster coach Neil Doak said Jackson, wing Louis Ludik (broken rib) and centre Stuart Olding (elbow) would be out for "a few weeks at least." - BBC

January 10, 2015 - Jonathan Sexton out for first Six Nations match
"Jonathan Sexton has confirmed he will not available for Ireland’s opening game of the Six Nations against Italy despite reports in France offering hope he would be cleared to play. The Irish fly-half suffered a concussion when he clashed heads with team-mate Rob Kearney as they combined to tackle Adam Ashley-Cooper late in Ireland’s 26-23 win against Australia on November 22. The concussion was Sexton’s fourth of 2014 and prompted doctors to advise him to take 12 weeks out from the game, which rules him out until the second game of Ireland's Championship defence against France on February 14." - Sky Sports 

January 7, 2015 - Ian Keatley
"Six Nations hopeful Ian Keatley has signed a new Munster contract - but JJ Hanrahan will leave the province in the summer for Northampton..... The Dubliner, 27, has been the province's first choice no 10 since Ronan O'Gara's retirement and is in the frame to play in Ireland's Six Nations opener against Italy on February 7. With Johnny Sexton unavailable, Keatley is up against Ian Madigan for the role but Leinster's Madigan is the favourite for selection." - Irish Mirror

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