Leinster and Ireland full-back, Rob Kearney has defended teammate, Johnny Sexton, following criticism of his outburst during their Guinness Six Nations win over Italy last month.
The Ireland out-half was visibly annoyed after being substituted in the 78th minute and aimed critical comments at Jacob Stockdale who had dropped a pass just moments before.
Many have criticised Sexton’s approach, especially when dealing with younger players, and believe he is too hot-headed to act as Ireland captain in the absence of Rory Best.
Claims have also been made that the attitude of the World Player of the Year is having a negative impact on the Ireland squad but speaking to the media today, Kearney dismissed the notion, insisting that every player shows frustration in different ways.
“No. I don’t think so. That’s Johnny, isn’t it? We’re a little bit used to it.
“We all get very frustrated, we all show our frustration in different ways. I’ve played with Johnny for 15 odd years now, so, maybe I’m not the one to ask!
“But certainly, I don’t think it’s having much of an affect on us.”
Kearney insisted that he is often at the receiving end of criticism from the Ireland playmaker, and maintained that it only helps to “drive standards.”
“Weekly. I think we all have. It’s good, it drives standards amongst us. Johnny understands the game very well and he’s very clear in terms of how he wants to play it and that’s his way of communicating it.”
The 32-year-old is the latest Irish player to come out in defence of Sexton after Iain Henderson spoke to the media last week, saying that Sexton’s attitude only shows how much he cares about the team.
“The number of times you see Johnny shouting or looking like he’s angry, everyone has trained with him enough to know that he’s not losing his head, it’s just because he cares,” Henderson said.
“When we’ve trained stuff and it doesn’t go that way in games, he wants it to be perfect. He cares so much. He gets like that in training and you know it’s for the greater good of the squad”.