Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby World Cup

Danger man Sexton will be hunted down, Ben Arous vows

By Nick Purewal

Eddy Ben Arous has promised to go after Johnny Sexton as France raise the pressure on Ireland's linchpin fly-half.

Brice Dulin called on France to suffocate Sexton and remove him from Ireland's "vanguard", for Les Bleus to claim victory in Sunday's encounter.

Sexton insisted he remained unfazed by the target on his back earlier this week, but that has not stopped France's bully-boy rhetoric.

"I know that he is slow in getting rid of the ball, so I am going to try to put the maximum pressure on him," said prop Ben Arous, a former team-mate of Sexton at Racing Metro.

"I am going to hunt him down as often as possible.

"We are going to go after him 200% because he is the strong man of this team."

France have targeted Sexton for the last two Six Nations campaigns but Ireland still sneaked through both encounters to claim consecutive titles.

Sexton suffered a head injury in the 22-20 win over France in Paris in 2014 that secured Joe Schmidt's men the Six Nations title and handed Brian O'Driscoll the fairytale Test farewell.

Ireland's chief playmaker then returned from a three-month concussion lay-off for the 2015 Six Nations match, enduring a torrid time from juggernaut centre Mathieu Bastareaud.

Despite the physical treatment, Sexton still excelled, with Ireland triumphing 18-11 in Dublin en route to their second-straight Six Nations crown.

France were refusing to shy away from turning a pre-match narrative into a barrage aimed at one man.

"It is imperative to go after him," said France full-back Dulin, another of Sexton's former Racing team-mates.

"We have to tire him so that he finds it tough to make the calls."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph