Ireland star out-half Jonathan Sexton has been the focus of much debate following his early exit from Ireland’s second test with New Zealand last month.
The influential Leinster man was forced off with a hamstring complaint and following additional scans and treatment, his provincial side’s head coach Leo Cullen has confirmed that Sexton has suffered a grade one hamstring tear.
This latest injury comes only two months after the 31-year-old underwent shoulder surgery. Previous to that it was another hamstring injury that saw the former Racing 92 No.10 miss further time since his return to Leinster.
Following the historic November series, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt suggested that a prolonged break from the game might be required for Sexton, in order to let him recover and return as a more ‘robust’ player.
While this might serve Ireland’s purposes ahead of the Six Nations in nine weeks time, for Leinster it is something that could destroy their title aspirations in the Guinness Pro 12 and Champions Cup.
Now, according to the Irish Examiner, Leinster’s Cullen has spoken out about Sexton, his injury and the prospect of an extended break for his crucial out-half.
When asked about whether Sexton will be out for a mere three to four weeks instead of a longer break, Cullen revealed,
“That’s exactly it — it’s just to try and get his body right.
“It’s not like Johnny’s going to go off and do the Camino or whatever else it is people do.
“It’s about trying to make sure next time he comes back and plays, whenever that may be, he’s in the best possible shape.” added Cullen, who confirmed that there has been a ‘combined approach’ between Leinster and Ireland in an effort to get the out-half back to full fitness.
Revealing that there has been a ‘combined approach’ between the province and Ireland regarding Sexton’s recovery, Cullen said,
“There’s a lot of joined-up thinking. He’s one of the key assets in Irish rugby, one of the most important guys. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is what’s best for Johnny.
“There has been several discussions. What we’re trying to get to the bottom is, we just want to know what’s right for Johnny, how do we make him stronger and more resilient.
“I hear talk about his resilience and his injury profile, but you think of the amount of games he has played, roughly 250. It’s a lot of games.
“If he takes a week or takes three or four weeks, whatever the case may be, we’ll just do what’s right by Johnny.”
Cullen certainly appears sympathetic to Sexton’s growing injury list this season and accepts that his recovery will take as long as it takes. However, given the chance of having his star player back sooner rather than later, it’s fair to say that in the interest of Leinster, Cullen will welcome him back today if he could.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
Heineken Rugby Club celebrates and rewards real supporters who make the game what it is.
Complete our survey below to be in with a chance of winning a Pundit Arena jersey!