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Jonathan Sexton is at the centre of tug of war

By Cian Tracey

Published 29/11/2016

Confusion: Jonathan Sexton may or may not have time off
Confusion: Jonathan Sexton may or may not have time off

Just as his press conference was drawing to a close after the All Blacks defeat, a final question was put to Joe Schmidt about whether there was a need for Jonathan Sexton to take a prolonged period out of the game to allow his body to recover.

The emphatic response that followed left little doubt about Schmidt's feelings on such a suggestion, but exactly a week later the Kiwi changed his tune.

When the idea was initially raised, his feelings on the matter were so clear it seemed like a complete non-runner.

But after Ireland's win over Australia, Schmidt said: "I got asked last week does he need a window of time to really make sure that he can be more robust, and that's one of the things that comes up for discussion now.

"So some of those discussions will take place and we'll have a clearer picture after that."

At the moment, that picture remains very unclear.

Leinster believe that the out-half could be fit enough to play against Northampton in two weeks, but that is dependent on the discussions that are due to take place between the medical staff, the IRFU and Leinster.

Sexton injured his left hamstring in the build-up to Leinster's win over Castres last month and picked up a problem to his right hamstring in the defeat to the All Blacks.

Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey said yesterday: "It has to be making sure what's in the best interest for Jonathan, because you don't want him to be playing through injury.

"You want to get to the crux of it and find out what exactly is causing it, and currently we have devised, in conjunction with the IRFU, a rehab program to resolve that issue.

"I think it (final decision) has to be the medical staff because they will have all the relevant scans, the relevant data, the relevant information to hand.

"We're hopeful he will make good progress in that and that he will be back fairly soon."

Schmidt is more open to Sexton taking time out to fully recover than he was a week ago but until the 'discussion' takes place and Leinster are told otherwise, they expect him to line out in two weeks.

Belfast Telegraph

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