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Stephen Ferris: Johnny Sexton came out on top in battle with Finn Russell


Johnny Sexton was the clear winner of the contest between the Ireland fly-half and Scotland’s Finn Russell, according to Stephen Ferris.

The Ireland captain secured a narrow victory over Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday with a late penalty kick, and while Russell did score a try, he made a couple of poor kicks that ultimately cost his side dearly.

Ferris was writing for Sky Sports after the latest round of the Six Nations and applauded 35-year-old Sexton’s steely display against the Scots.

“Thankfully Ireland had somebody like Johnny Sexton who was itching for that opportunity and he nailed Scotland’s coffin closed in the 77th minute with a penalty which sealed the 27-24 win,” Ferris wrote.

“It was a really good display by him and there was a lot of chat going into the match of him against Finn Russell, and question marks over the durability of Sexton over the last six weeks.

“I think you’ve got to have question marks over the durability of Finn Russell now.

“He had a couple of missed touches, he kicked one out on the full and missed a kick that was a long way out but with not much of an angle on it. I think it was 1-0 to Johnny Sexton when it came to that.”

‘There’s definitely more work for Ireland to do’

While the former Ireland and Ulster flanker was impressed by Sexton’s performance at Murrayfield, Ferris was not as complimentary of the match as a whole.

While the game in Murrayfield was a relatively high-scoring affair, a lot of errors were made and the quality of the match paled in comparison to the rugby on show between England and France.

“There was lots of physicality and intent, but maybe not the quality of the game overall. I think there’s definitely a bit more work for Ireland to do,” Ferris commented.


“The confidence is certainly there and the set-piece is superb. Scotland’s line-out was superb coming into Sunday’s game and Ireland absolutely destroyed them.

“That wasn’t really down to errors from Scotland, that was down to brilliant reads from Ireland and making sure they’re on top of that. I have seen improvements, I would just like to see more variety in attack.”

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