Johnny Sexton: Ireland fly-half says World Cup exit 'still keeps him awake at night'

Johnny Sexton
Sexton has made a quicker than expected recovery from a knee injury

Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton says the nature of Ireland's World Cup exit in Japan "still keeps him awake at night".

Ireland lost 46-14 to New Zealand in the quarter-finals in Tokyo in October.

"There are plenty of nights I lay awake going, 'What's just happened? How did it go wrong?' You mull over these things for ages," said Sexton.

"I had some good chats with Stuart [Lancaster] when I got back to Leinster as he had some good experience from being with England in 2015," he added.

Lancaster, now a coach at Leinster, was in charge of England in 2015 when they were knocked out of their home World Cup at the pool stage.

"He put everything into context. You know in your sporting careers there are ups and downs. It's been a good learning curve even though you don't want it to be," added the Leinster number 10.

Sexton revealed on Wednesday that he expects to be fit for selection for Ireland's Six Nations opener against Scotland on 1 February after being out of action since injuring his knee in their Heineken Champions Cup win over Northampton in early December.

The 34-year-old has been handed the captaincy by new Ireland head coach Andy Farrell and despite being the oldest player selected for the tournament, aside from Italy's Alessandro Zanni, he wants to extend his rugby career for as long as possible.

Sexton, who has been capped 88 times, accepts circumstances can quickly change but is far from contemplating calling time on his playing days, stating that he will have to be "dragged kicking and screaming" into retirement.

"I want to play for as long as I can because I love what I do. I wouldn't change it for anything. I love being in the sport, I love everything that goes with it.

"But you can be 24 and wanting to play until you are 35, 36 and you could be finished tomorrow, you don't know.

"I've just got to enjoy this Six Nations campaign and I'll just build season on season. If I continue to produce the goods and keep the body good and the mind good, I don't see why not."