Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Jones - Ireland have options

Stephen Jones has waded into Ireland's great fly-half debate by stating their tactics for the RBS 6 Nations clash with Wales will be dictated by who they select at 10.

Ronan O'Gara is in pole position to retain the jersey ahead of Jonathan Sexton following his man-of-the-match display in Saturday's 21-18 victory over Scotland. O'Gara bristles at the perception he is a kicking outside-half while Sexton is viewed as offering a more accomplished running game.

"I know what Ronan can do," said Jones, speaking as members of the Wales squad launched new sports drink Powerade ION4. "He's a great kicker, kicks the ball out of hand very well and marshals the team well. He's got good competition from Sexton, there's a good balance between the two of them."

He added: "The coaches have gone with Sexton of late but O'Gara did very well when he got the opportunity against Scotland.

"They're both great players, but have different styles. It's great for Irish rugby to have horses for courses like that.

"I played against Sexton at provincial level. He compliments the centres very well and of course the Leinster centres are the Ireland centres.

"They have a lot of good moves and he's very sharp in the way he plays. Ronan marshals a game more than Jonny, who likes to keep the ball in hand.

"The bottom line is they're both very good payers, but they have contrasting styles.

"Playing with Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll for Leinster week in, week out definitely helps Sexton. But Ronan's last few performances for Ireland have been top drawer."


From Belfast Telegraph