The Captain of Ireland, Johnny Sexton, has not lost hope of play in the next Rugby World Cup And he admits that being discarded fuels his motivation.
Sexton has been his country’s titular opening for the better part of a decade and He will be 38 at the time of the 2023 World Cup in France.
His advanced years, combined with a recent hamstring problem that ruled him out of the Fall Nations Cup games against England and Georgia, have raised questions about his long-term international future.
While the 35-year-old believes some former players from Ireland and members of the media they want to see him hang up his boots imminently, he intends to keep going as long as he is “hungry.”
“Look, there have been guys on teams over the years who have gone to the World Cups at 37, 38,” said Sexton, who is scheduled to return from injury against Scotland on Saturday.
“Do I think I can get there? I think I can. But at my age, I have to take it one year at a time.
“I’m still hungry, tI still love the gameI still love to compete, I still love to train and be a part of this team. I see no reason to stop.
“I want to be the best starter in Ireland and I still have aspirations for other things as well.
“I’m not retiring just because you (the media) want me to. I’ll keep going as long as I’m feeling good and hungry. I know some previous players want to retire too, but I will move on. “
Sexton was named the patron of the national team following the retirement of Rory Best after last year’s World Cup in Japan.
The Leinster man is currently less than six games away from completing the 100 tests for Ireland, while only his 10th predecessor, Ronan O’Gara, has scored more points for the country.