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How Johnny Sexton's 'world class' attributes inspire Ireland on and off the pitch, explains coach Andy Farrell

Italy 10-48 Ireland

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Kicking king: Ireland’s Johnny Sexton takes a kick

Kicking king: Ireland’s Johnny Sexton takes a kick

�INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Will Connors scores a try

Will Connors scores a try

�INPHO/Tommy Dickson

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Kicking king: Ireland’s Johnny Sexton takes a kick

For all the impact made by his seven changes in securing Ireland's win in Rome on Saturday, head coach Andy Farrell reserved special praise for his returning captain Johnny Sexton.

While inclusions like Will Connors, who scored two tries, and the entirely revised front-row stamped their authority on the victory against an Italy team below even their recent standards, there was little doubting it was the side's much-discussed 35-year-old out-half making their sharper back-line tick.

Although everything that Ireland produced in the Stadio Olimpico comes with the usual caveat regarding the strength of their opposition, the first win of their championship at the third attempt was, regardless, a good day for the skipper.


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