AAP Rugby

Sexton expected back at No.10 for Ireland

By AAP Newswire

Johnny Sexton is set to wear the Ireland No.10 jersey in Saturday's second Test match against the Wallabies in Melbourne but he may as well be wearing a target on his back.

The world No.2 side will turn to Sexton to help save the series in Melbourne after the Australians won the first Test in Brisbane 19-8.

Sexton started from the bench there with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt giving rookie playmaker Joey Carbery his third international start.

The charismatic Sexton admitted he found the bench role difficult and was itching to get back in the starting lineup.

"It's all about starting, you want to get that starting place," Sexton said on Tuesday.

"It's not something I've done in a long, long time with Ireland so it needed a bit of getting used to.

"Running the Australian plays all last week and then it's almost like a different type of game.

"You've got a lot of nervous energy and you're trying to figure out what moves you've played so you can play something different - I was sitting there scratching moves off."

The Wallabies went after Ireland's halves in game one and Sexton said he was expecting more of the same at AAMI Park.

Playing under Wallabies coach Michael Cheika for several seasons at Leinster, Sexton knows how the firebrand coach operates.

He said Ireland needed to better deal with the tactics.

"Any team that plays under Michael Cheika will bring that and we knew it was coming but we probably didn't deal with it was well as we could have in terms of allowing them to come out of the line and hit us," Sexton said.

"We will learn from that. I'm sure they will bring the same intensity this week.

"Michael is a pretty relentless character and he will demand the same of them this week."

After 12 successive victories to win the Six Nations and grand slam, being in the losers camp was unfamiliar territory for a number of the visitors and Sexton said they would be better for the experience.

"It's a good chance - you learn a lot when you lose," he said.

"We try and learn through winning, which is something we did quite well through the Six Nations, which is the sign of a good team.

"But we've got to bounce back and perform a hell of a lot better."