“I saw the standing ovation, it was amazing – I knew where my family was sitting, so I looked at them and I could see them smile, but I had to move on to the conversion immediately,” added Sexton.
“Leading the country is special for any game, but today [especially] and with the crowd back. I feel a little guilty because Cian Healy had his 100e cap in front of an empty stadium and two of my best friends in the game – Rob Kearney and Fergus McFadden – retreated to an empty stadium. I feel a little guilty. “
The 36-year-old, who won his first test cap against Fiji in November 2009, organized Ireland in a way the Japanese could not physically stand. It should be noted that this was only Japan’s fourth outing since their World Cup at home, where they beat Ireland in the group stage en route to a quarter-final, against 17 for the Ireland.e Test.
Farrell said he was most satisfied with the Irish defense despite the virtuoso offensive performance, which included a hat-trick from Munster winger Andrew Conway – who was imperious under the high ball – as well as scores from the opposite winger James Lowe, scrum half Jamison Gibson Park – starting in front of Sexton’s right-hand man, Conor Murray – Lion Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose and another centurion replacing pillar Cian Healy. Japan had just one consolation try from wing Siosaia Fifita.
Farrell said: âThe main thing for us todayâ¦ you will write about the points we scored, but by a national mile the best part of our performance was our defense. We got the ball back very quickly. Japan is lethal on flipping and counterattacking, once you tackle a team and force a few mistakes it doesn’t suit them and for me that was the best part of our performance.
Japan head coach New Zealander Jamie Joseph expects big things from Ireland against his homeland next week based on the defensive performance.
âIt’s going to be a hell of a game next week. The intention of the Irish, especially defensively, was to prepare for what was going to be a good rugby game next week, âhe said.
Rating: 5-0 Lowe try, 7-0 Sexton con; 12-0 Conway try, 14-0 Conway Sexton; 19-0 Conway try; 22-0 Sexton pen; 27-0 try from Gibson Park, 29-0 against Sexton; 34-0 try from Sexton, 36-0 against Sexton; 41-0 Aki tries; 41-5 Fifita to try; 46-5 Ringrose try, 48-5 Carbery con; 53-5 Conway test, 58-5 Healy test, 60-7 Carbery con.
Ireland: H Keenan; A Conway, G Ringrose, B Aki (K Earls 66), J Lowe; J Sexton (J Carbery 61), J Gibson Park (C Murray 57); A Porter (C Healy 54), R Kelleher (D Sheehan 54), T Furlong (F Bealham 54); T Beirne (I Henderson 57), J Ryan; C Doris, J van der Flier (P O’Mahony 50), J Conan.
Japan: K Matsushima; D Riley, T Lafaele (R Yamanaka 38-40, 67), R Nakamura, S Fifita; Y Tamura (Y Niwai 40-50, 55), Y Nagare (N Saito 55); K Inagaki, A Sakate (Y Niwai 40-50, 64), J Gu; J Cornelsen, J Moore; B Gunter (Y Tokunaga 26, T Tatafu 55), P Labuschagne, K Himeno.
Yellow card: A Sakate 40
Arbitrator: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)