Johnny Sexton doesn’t think Simon Zebo should be criticised for an error which led to Australia’s first try on Saturday.
Zebo’s attempted offload to Sexton in the 18th minute, with Ireland 17-0 up, was tapped down by Bernard Foley and collected by his halfback partner Nick Phipps, who scampered clear to score.
However, Sexton believes the Munster winger’s attitude should be applauded not castigated.
“I think you never want to take that away from a player, that instinct, if he sees the space.
“He went into a lovely gap. I’ve seen him do it before when he’s got passes out the back. I ran into the space, because I knew he had the ability to get his hands free. On another day, it sticks and we score a try.
“And we probably should have stopped it anyway. The ball bounced free and we had a couple of chances to stop them. We speak about when the ball does go loose that we kill it, and we didn’t.
“I thought Simon had a great campaign and put his hand up going forward into the Six Nations. It’s great that we have such strength in depth now, especially in that position.”
Sexton also admitted it took a number of tests before his partnership with Conor Murray clicked.
“Conor is in great form. We got off to a slow start and that is only natural. He was probably playing with Ronan [O’Gara] at Munster and I was playing with Eoin [Reddan] at Leinster and we weren’t used to each other.
“Now, we have a great relationship, working well together and getting to know each other and maybe it took 15/20 tests to really get that good relationship going. Now, we have it.”
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