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Ireland fly half Sexton ready to face Italy


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Article Published: Tuesday 21 February 2012


Ireland fly half Jonny Sexton has removed any doubt that he may be fit to play Italy in the Six Nations by training with the team

Sexton tweaked his thigh muscle whilst practicing his kicking in the build up to the France vs Ireland match which was eventually postponed.

The fly half then sat out of training a couple of days later and Ronan O'Gara was put on standby and Paddy Wallace called into the squad as cover.

Sexton has however insisted that he would have played against France in Paris if the match would have gone ahead.

"I was fit to play over in Paris," he told the Irish Times.

"I just had a slight niggle a couple of days beforehand but it was fine. I've recovered enough. I had weights this morning, but I'll be training this afternoon."

Sexton said that the Ireland team were frustrated that the match was postponed but adds that the extra lay-off may pay dividends in the long run.

"It was a weird week," he said. "We came in for a one-day camp last week and the lads are excited about getting back playing now.

"We've had a bit of a break since the Wales game and to have that hanging over you for an extra week is not the nicest feeling.

"We worked hard in training and tried to simulate a game as much as we could last week. "

"The more you play, the better you play but at the same time being fresh is key as well. I think you can take the positives out of both."

Sexton expects to play this weekend against Treviso halfback Kris Burton and says he will be a big threat after he caused England problems in Rome.

"I thought he was going okay," he said. "They obviously took him off against England it probably cost them."

"We played against him (for Leinster) in Treviso and he's a good player and a threat. We'll have to keep our discipline, keep him out of drop-goal range and put a lot of pressure on him when he does go for those drop goals."

Italy will be missing prop Martin Castrogiovanni after he broke a rib in the England match but Sexton says they will still be tough to beat.

"Their strength is up front," he added.

"They might be missing Castrogiovanni, which is a big loss for any side, but they've got strength in depth in that area, and they've got some backs playing in the Top 14."

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