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Sexton: Everyone's a genius in hindsight


WRONG: Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

WRONG: Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile


WRONG: Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton believes that his side made a mistake in their pre-game analysis of the All Blacks ahead of last year's disastrous World Cup quarter-final defeat.

Having come into the last eight clash on the back of beating New Zealand in Dublin the previous year, as well as the historic first victory in Chicago in 2016, Ireland were full of confidence, before being ruthlessly dismantled.

The All Blacks team that started in Japan showed a number of changes to the side that featured at the Aviva Stadium and Ireland couldn't live with the pace and power of New Zealand, and ended up being comfortably beaten 46-14.

Reflecting on the defeat today during the IRFU's Analytica 2020 webinar, a performance analytics conference in aid of Pieta House, Sexton admitted that Ireland got their approach wrong.

"One thing I always think we never talk about is the spectacular failures," said Vinny Hammond, the IRFU's head of analytics and innovation, who was moderating the online event.

"You prepare and prepare only to look up and it is completely different. Is there any moment in your career where the analysis is done but you look up and just go 'Oh no'?"

Sexton responded: "There have been lots of moments like that in every game. When you are playing out-half, you are involved so much.

"Everyone will remember the moments that don't go well and I certainly remember the moments that don't well more than I should. Lots are coming to my head in terms of mistakes, but they weren't based off the back of analysis.

"If you go to the New Zealand quarter-final - a team you have analysed and you think you have got the beating of, and you know you have had them the last two times you have played them.

"Then suddenly you come out and start against a totally different team, a totally different beast. That could be one that we maybe should have gone and looked at individuals as opposed to teams, and realised what we were up against.

"Hindsight is a great thing when you are talking about analysis. Everyone is a a genius in hindsight."

Sexton, like everyone else, is itching for rugby to get back underway, and he reiterated his intention to not hang up his playing boots any time soon.

The out-half will turn 35 in July, but he has made no secret of the fact that he wants to make a third Lions tour next summer.

"One good thing for me is that it's given me a bit of a taste of what retirement might be like and I definitely don't want to retire any time soon.

"It's been a good time from that point of view, trying to really sort of start again. That's the way I'm looking at it."