NANTES, France (Reuters) – Johnny Sexton waved away praise over his new points record for Ireland, lauding his team mates as they claimed an efficient 59-16 win over Tonga on Saturday to seal a second World Cup win.
The veteran flyhalf, who played only the first half, scored a try, kicked a penalty and four conversions to take his total points in tests for Ireland to 1,090 points, eclipsing the record of Ronan O’Gara.
“I don’t think it is about individual achievements this evening. It is about getting the next win and keep building in this tournament. It’s week-on-week in a World Cup,” Sexton said after victory in front of thousands of green-clad Irish supporters at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
Sexton looked delighted, however, as he touched down between the posts to score a try before halftime after one of the many line breaks executed by a slick Irish side.
“It’s always nice to score a try, I don’t get it too often. It’s a lovely personal milestone but I’d much rather a victory,” the 38-year-old added.
“We’re delighted to get five points against a very good team. That’s what tonight was about and that was the main objective.”
Ireland meet South Africa in Paris next Saturday in a match likely to determine who finishes top of Pool B.
“We struggled in the breakdown for the first 15 to 20 minutes. Once we got to grips with that, we started playing some better stuff. We had a couple of exits we weren’t that happy with,” Sexton said.
“It’s never perfect and we will go back and look at it. We try to search on how we can improve week on week.”
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Ed Osmond)
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