Johnny Sexton was withdrawn from Leinster’s last game
The fly-half has had a history of concussions
There have been calls for Sexton to retire over frequent head injuries
Coach Joe Schmidt also rules himself out of Lions job
Joe Schmidt has declared Johnny Sexton fully fit and raring to go for Ireland’s Six Nations campaign after the fly-half suffered a concussion scare last weekend.
The 30-year-old was withdrawn from Leinster’s 51-10 Champions Cup defeat by Wasps, but passed an initial pitch-side assessment and has since completed further tests to return to training. He is now set to start with Leinster teammate Ian Madigan supplying support from the bench.
Ireland head coach has also Schmidt lamented suggestions his frontline playmaker should consider quitting the sport to preserve his long-term health.
“Johnny trained really well yesterday, he’s fully fit and ready to go, he’s passed his three,” said Schmidt ahead of Ireland’s Six Nations opener against Wales in Dublin on February 7th where they will begin the defence of their crown as they strive to win a third consecutive title.
“That’s the protocol. It was this time last year that the problem really arose and he had the break. Since that time he hasn’t really had too many problems. I think he’s good to go.”
Outspoken columnist and former Ireland international George Hook has led calls for Sexton to consider hanging up his boots from the sport over repeated head injuries but head coach Schmidt played down that perception.
“All we can do is go on the medical opinion, and he had two of the best guys that are around.” said the Ireland chief.
“When they give him the all-clear we’ve got a lot of trust in them. If there are people who question that, again it’s always a disappointment, but also a reality.
“Because no one’s going to have the same opinion necessarily, but what you try to do is get those that are best-qualified to make the decision, therefore not to put somebody at risk.”