As Ireland heads into the Six Nations Championship, Johnny Sexton is feeling the pressure of one last chance at a Grand Slam. The 2020 Six Nations Championship was disrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19, which resulted in the postponement of several matches, and a new format had to be devised to accommodate the remaining fixtures.
For Joe Schmidt’s side, the Grand Slam was one of the targets, and it was a target that was within their reach after they recorded three away wins in a row. Ireland’s resurgence was largely down to Sexton, who had been instrumental in those victories. The fly-half was at the forefront of his team’s attacking efforts, and his leadership and calmness under pressure were also key factors.
However, Sexton and Ireland’s dreams of a Grand Slam were crushed at Twickenham, where a dominant England team punished their opponents with a 24-12 victory. It was a bitter pill to swallow for Sexton, who had hoped to add another trophy to his collection.
But the fly-half hasn’t let that defeat hold him back. As Ireland head into the 2021 championship, Sexton knows that it is now or never for him and his team. At the age of 35, the Leinster man is aware that he may not have many more chances to achieve a Grand Slam, and he is determined to make the most of this opportunity.
In an interview, he said, “It’s one of the top things you can achieve in the Six Nations. Winning a Grand Slam is very special, and I know I’m not going to have too many more opportunities to do that. It’s a big carrot, and it’s something that drives us forward.” He also spoke about how the setback at Twickenham last year has motivated him and his teammates to come back stronger this time around.
The pressure of achieving a Grand Slam can be daunting, but Sexton is no stranger to it. He has faced pressure throughout his career, playing in high-stakes matches for both his club and country. He has also been a captain for Ireland and has proven himself to be a leader on and off the pitch.
As one of the most experienced players in the Irish squad, Sexton is aware of the responsibility that comes with being a senior player. He knows that his performance will be crucial to the team’s success and is ready to take on the challenge. “I try to lead on and off the pitch, whether it’s in training or during games,” he said. “I want to be someone that the players can turn to in difficult situations.”
Sexton’s commitment to the team’s success can also be seen in his decision to stay at Leinster. Many other players in his position would have considered moving abroad to earn more money, but Sexton chose to remain loyal to his home province. His continued presence in the Irish squad has been a significant factor in their recent successes, and his experience and leadership will be vital in their pursuit of a Grand Slam.
In conclusion, Johnny Sexton is fully embracing the pressure of one last chance at a Grand Slam. He knows that it won’t be easy, but he is determined to give it his all and lead his team to victory. His experience, leadership, and determination will be crucial to Ireland’s success in the Six Nations, and if Sexton can deliver the goods, he will go down as one of Ireland’s greatest ever fly-halves.