Six Nations 2017: Ireland's Sexton brushes off Jones 'kick and clap' jibe

Johnny Sexton
Johnny Sexton has brushed aside barbs that Ireland will bombard England with an aerial game
Six Nations: Ireland v England
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Ulster, live text commentary on BBC Sport website

Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton says his side's preparations for their final Six Nations game will not be affected by jibes from England coach Eddie Jones.

Jones predicted that Ireland will play a "kick and clap" match in Saturday's game at Aviva Stadium, in other words launch a barrage of high balls.

England need to win to complete back-to-back Grand Slam championship wins.

"We have got a pretty clear plan, as we always do, and we will just keep trying to do that better," said Sexton.

"That is the key. I have never worked under him (Jones) so I don't know what he is like behind the press.

"It is not Eddie I am trying to please, it is (Ireland coach) Joe (Schmidt) I am trying to please," added the Irish number 10.

England hope to break All Blacks' record

Victory for England, already crowned Six Nations champions, over Ireland in Dublin would see them set a new record of 19 consecutive Test wins by a leading rugby union nation.

Ireland, by contrast, saw their title hopes ended with a 22-9 defeat by Wales last week, a match in which playmaker Sexton was sin-binned.

Jones's perceived attempt at mind games follow his comments last year that Sexton's parents would be "worried" about his long-term health following a history of concussion injuries.

Ireland officials reacted furiously to the implication they were taking risks with the British and Irish Lions' fly-half's long-term health.

Sexton will be without regular half-back partner Conor Murray, who has failed to recover from a shoulder injury suffered against Wales, for a match where an Ireland win could still see them finish second in the Championship.

Kieran Marmion
Kieran Marmion replaces the injured Conor Murray at scrum-half for Ireland

Instead he will have the inexperienced Kieran Marmion alongside him at scrum-half, but Sexton said there would be no additional burden on his shoulders because of Murray's absence.

"I feel pressure every game I play for Ireland and every game I play for Leinster because I put pressure on myself and guys around you put pressure on you," he said.

It was Ireland who ended New Zealand's 18-match winning streak with a 40-29 victory over the world champions in Chicago in November and now they hope to repeat the feat against England.

"We want to be the team that's fighting for the championship and trying to be consistent," said Sexton.

"Now we're in a position where we have nothing to play for except to stopping them doing something.

"We don't want to be in that situation but we are and we've probably got to enjoy it now. We can think about how we're going to become the team that England and the All Blacks are after the Championship."

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