/ Six Nations 2016

Eddie Jones: Johnny Sexton's parents must be worried about son's 'whiplash'

Updated: Thursday, 25 Feb 2016 17:59 | Comments

Johnny Sexton feels his neck as he leaves the field against France
Johnny Sexton feels his neck as he leaves the field against France

England coach Eddie Jones has questioned the wisdom of Ireland revealing that Johnny Sexton suffered a "whiplash injury" in the 10-9 defeat by France.

Sexton appeared dazed on leaving the field at the Stade de France after several questionable hits in the second round match, but head coach Joe Schmidt downplayed any concussion fears.

The Leinster fly-half was stood down for 12 weeks in late 2014 after sustaining four concussions inside 12 months and has had several further head-injury concerns since.

Schmidt described the latest setback as "neck and shoulder, more of a whiplash injury".

In response, Jones said at England's team announcement press conference: "Sexton is an interesting one, they've talked about him having whiplash injury, which is not a great thing to talk about.

"I'm sure his mother and father would be worried about that. Hopefully, the lad's all right on Saturday to play."

"I'm sure his mother and father would be worried about that"

Jones bristled when asked if it was a legitimate tactic for teams to target opposition fly-halves.

"We target players all the time. That's part of rugby is it not? Is there some sort of special law there?" Jones asked.

"There are 15 players out there. Are we supposed to not run at one player? Hang on, hang on, he's got a red dot on his head, we don't run at him.

"Rugby's a game of XV players on the field. When we're attacking, we're attacking weak defenders. Why would we run at the strongest defender?

"We are not going to run at their strongest defenders, we'll always run at their weakest.

"I'm not saying Sexton is a weak defender. Maybe France did. We're going to be targeting players in the Ireland side.

"We want to win and you win a game of rugby by attacking their weak points and to say that's unfair is just ridiculous."

Responding to Jones' comments, Schmidt said: "If we’re distracted by that then that’s something we’re wasting energy and time on.

"People are well within their rights to make whatever observation they want from outside the environment but we know how things are inside the environment.

"We know how eager and fit and able the players are and [Johnny's] a good example of someone who’s very eager this weekend and I think you’ll see that on Saturday."

Sexton himself later dismissed the comments. 

"He's probably just trying to jump on the bandwagon about head injuries," he said. 

"That's the hot topic at the moment. I don't know what context it was said in so I can't really comment too much on it."

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