Sexton accepts O'Gara cameo

Ireland ace aims to make the most of his time on the putch

Last Updated: 03/02/12 7:20am

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Jonathan Sexton: Growing accustomed to Ronan O'Gara's late entrance

Jonathan Sexton: Growing accustomed to Ronan O'Gara's late entrance

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Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton claims he is growing accustomed to Ronan O'Gara replacing him from the bench.

Sexton has won the latest tussle with the Munster veteran to wear the No.10 jersey in Sunday's RBS Six Nations opener against Wales at Aviva Stadium.

However, in the past when the 26-year-old has been coach Declan Kidney's preferred choice, Sexton has found himself waiting for O'Gara's entrance.

Only now, after 24 caps, is he beginning to adapt to the situation.

"I wish my place was guaranteed," said Sexton. "Obviously with Ireland there's a little bit more looking over your shoulder than with Leinster because Ronan is on the bench.

"It's something you have to get used to, knowing somebody is ready to come on if things aren't going your way.

"It's probably something that I've struggled with a little bit. But you learn a lot with setbacks.

"I've come off after 60 minutes when I've been playing well for Ireland. I've just got to make the most of my time on the pitch."
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"Hopefully I'll not be as bogged down about it. I can play my own game and try to do the best for the team.

Struggled

"I've come off after 60 minutes when I've been playing well for Ireland. I've just got to make the most of my time on the pitch.

"Sometimes you feel like you just want to go out and put it all in the first 50 minutes. But you have to think about the team."

Sexton entered last autumn's World Cup as first choice fly-half, only to see his wayward goal-kicking cost him his place.

It was a painful experience that continues to haunt a player who is viewed as a better all-round operator than O'Gara.

"I beat myself up a bit at the time. It's probably something that I've struggled with a little bit," he said.

"But you learn a lot with setbacks. Obviously I place-kicked poorly in a couple of games.

"That can happen to any place-kicker but unfortunately it happened to me on the world stage in the two biggest games of my career.

"It still doesn't sit well with me that it happened then, something I'd been building up towards for a couple of years.

"It still hurts but I've tried to move on. That's life. You move on from it. I've a lot of good people around me."

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