Johnny Sexton demands Ireland ‘make it count’ after win over South Africa

September 23, 2023 11:00 PM BST | By PAMEDIA
Follow us on Google News:

Johnny Sexton says beating defending champions South Africa is among Ireland’s best Rugby World Cup wins but insists his team must push on and “make it count”.

Andy Farrell’s men put one foot in the quarter-finals of the tournament by edging a classic Paris encounter 13-8 to register a 16th straight victory.

The world’s top-ranked team have a two-week break before returning to Stade de France to complete their Pool B fixtures against Scotland.

“I think we’ve had some big wins in pool stages before, that’s right up there,” said captain Sexton.

“When you play against the reigning world champions, it’s always going to be incredibly tough and it was.

“They didn’t let us down in terms of the physicality of the game but I thought we fronted up and gave some good stuff ourselves in that regard.

“Yeah, it’s right up there but we’ve got to make it count now.

Johnny Sexton slotted a conversion and a penalty at Stade de France
Johnny Sexton slotted a conversion and a penalty at Stade de France (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“We’ve got some time off this week with the bye week, then we regroup and we’ve got to back it up against Scotland and make sure we do the business to get out of the pool.”

Mack Hansen’s first-half try, plus five points from the boot of Sexton and a late Jack Crowley penalty moved the Six Nations champions within touching distance of the knockout stages.

South Africa remained in contention until the final whistle through Cheslin Kolbe’s score and a Manie Libbok penalty but paid a heavy price for some wayward goal kicking.

Ireland were roared home by an estimated 30,000 Irish fans on an unforgettable evening in the French capital.

Veteran fly-half Sexton felt the “insane” support was a vital factor in securing a statement victory.

“We’ve had some big days before in terms of results in the pools but I’ve never ever seen a crowd like that,” said the 38-year-old.

“Someone said there was 30,000 fans but there was no way it was 30,000.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if there was 60,000 and they were insane throughout. They gave us the lift that we needed.

“Honestly, it’s not lost on us. We talk about it a lot, about inspiring those people that put their hand in their pocket week after week.

“They probably saved for four years to come here and it’s something we refer to all the time and I mean that.

“We play for them and they gave us the edge, fair play to them.”

Springboks skipper Siya Kolisi urged his side not to dwell on the disappointing result as they seek to bounce back in a crucial clash with Tonga.

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi, with ball, says his side cannot dwell on a narrow defeat in Paris
South Africa captain Siya Kolisi, with ball, says his side cannot dwell on a narrow defeat in Paris (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“The intensity of the game was exactly what we needed for a lot of players that have never played at such intensity,” said the flanker.

“The whole atmosphere was amazing on the field but we know exactly what we need to do as a group.

“We’ve got to lift our heads, we’ve got a big game coming and if we dwell too much on what happened, we will forget to perform next week.

“We need to get through that one and then we can start thinking about afterwards. Tonga is an important game.”


The content, including but not limited to any articles, news, quotes, information, data, text, reports, ratings, opinions, images, photos, graphics, graphs, charts, animations and video (Content) is a service of Kalkine Media Limited, Company No. 12643132 (Kalkine Media, we or us) and is available for personal and non-commercial use only. Kalkine Media is an appointed representative of Kalkine Limited, who is authorized and regulated by the FCA (FRN: 579414). The non-personalised advice given by Kalkine Media through its Content does not in any way endorse or recommend individuals, investment products or services suitable for your personal financial situation. You should discuss your portfolios and the risk tolerance level appropriate for your personal financial situation, with a qualified financial planner and/or adviser. No liability is accepted by Kalkine Media or Kalkine Limited and/or any of its employees/officers, for any investment loss, or any other loss or detriment experienced by you for any investment decision, whether consequent to, or in any way related to this Content, the provision of which is a regulated activity. Kalkine Media does not intend to exclude any liability which is not permitted to be excluded under applicable law or regulation. Some of the Content on this website may be sponsored/non-sponsored, as applicable. However, on the date of publication of any such Content, none of the employees and/or associates of Kalkine Media hold positions in any of the stocks covered by Kalkine Media through its Content. The views expressed in the Content by the guests, if any, are their own and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Kalkine Media. Some of the images/music/video that may be used in the Content are copyright to their respective owner(s). Kalkine Media does not claim ownership of any of the pictures displayed/music or video used in the Content unless stated otherwise. The images/music/video that may be used in the Content are taken from various sources on the internet, including paid subscriptions or are believed to be in public domain. We have used reasonable efforts to accredit the source wherever it was indicated or was found to be necessary.

Top LSE Listed Companies