Wednesday 17 January 2018

Horgan: Sexton can make the difference for Blues

Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton

Former Ireland wing Shane Horgan believes the return of Jonathan Sexton will make "a huge difference" to Leinster.

First, there is the improvement Ireland's out-half will bring to the number ten shirt. Second, there is the demands he will place on others to be better. His rising tide of influence will lift all of those around him.

"It is the direction that he can give, but also the exacting standards. He'll be very demanding," said Horgan.

"There won't be just the lines he runs and how he holds the inside. He will be very good for the likes of Ben Te'o.

"What he has at ten, what neither of the Leinster tens have is he retains the option to run, kick or pass every time he retains the ball.

"There is very little difference in his alignment when he's going to kick the ball, when he's going to run the ball, when he's going to pass the ball.


"That makes it incredibly hard to defend. You're constantly thinking as a defender.

"As a back three, you're not manipulating your position as much because you're not sure what he's going to do."

Horgan holds the opinion Sexton will "make it easier" for Te'o to take big improvements from the serious potential the New Zealander has shown in recent weeks.

"He (Te'o) is a very dominant tackler, he has got a big fend-off, he has got some great inside-to-out lines, which is key in any centre, one of the more difficult skills to have.

"He's naturally got it. He's got great building blocks there to move on."

Leinster might even move on from Isaac Boss and Eoin Reddan at scrum-half with former Ireland U20 captain Luke McGrath patiently biding his time.

"He is a phenomenal young player, great promise," added Horgan.

"I thought he was going to break in a year ago. It hasn't happened for him yet."


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