Johnny Sexton has hit out at the Irish media after Ireland defeated Scotland 31-16 in their final match of the Autumn Nations Cup.
Ireland were well worth their win after an impressive second-half performance, which saw them score two tires in 10 minutes following the break.
Andy Farrell’s side were much better against Scotland than they were in their last two encounters – a disappointing loss against England and an unsatisfactory win over Georgia.
Man of the match Caelan Doris and captain Johnny Sexton speak to Clare MacNamara, with captain Sexton once more insisting the team is in better shape than the media suggest #rterugby #irevsco pic.twitter.com/D6IOHAVDNg
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) December 5, 2020
While Sexton acknowledged that Ireland are not yet back to their best, he suggested to RTE that the media criticism of the team has been overblown.
“There’s obviously a big difference in opinion between the players and the media.
“We feel that we’re not at the top table yet. We haven’t been able to win away from home against the big teams like France and England.
“But we’ve won every other game. Obviously, the performances haven’t been amazing for 80 minutes and last week [against Georgia] was a prime example.
“But we back our coaches, we think they’re doing an outstanding job and it’s very different from the previous regime and it takes a little bit of getting used to.
“But we’ve another step to go but we’re happy with our progress and today, I think today showed it,” Sexton commented.
No major injury concerns
The Ireland captain came off injured near the end of the game on his return from a hamstring injury sustained against Wales in the first round of the Autumn Nations Cup.
While yet another injury to the 35-year-old is a reason for concern, the Leinster fly-half eased worries over whether it would be a long-term issue.
“I got a dead leg in the first half and I was struggling with it,” he said.
“It cooled down a little bit at half-time and it was just seizing up a little bit and I was struggling a bit,” Sexton said.