According to the Irish Mrirror, Johnny Sexton can’t get his head around the “strange” negativity surrounding the Irish rugby team.
The 19-12 loss to Japan threatened to send Ireland home before the knockout stages, but bonus point victories over Russia and Samoa have set up a last eight tie with the All Blacks.
And Sexton is struggling to understand what he sees as a downbeat reaction to their World Cup campaign.
Apart from that poor 60 minutes against Japan everything else has pretty much gone to plan,” he said.
There’s been some negativity around us and we’d feel that’s been pretty strange.
It’s just something that we get a sense of. You get texts saying, ‘Keep the head up, we’re still behind you’ and you get a feeling that there are some things out there that aren’t great.
We’re very self-critical, we’re critical of ourselves in terms of our performances and obviously after the Japan game we would have liked to have done things differently.
But we kind of knew how good a team Japan were. We always knew that that could happen if we didn’t play well – and it did happen.
We know things weren’t great but it’s funny some people trying to compare things to ’07 when they just scraped past Namibia – and we have just beaten Russia 35-0.
How there can be comparisons there, I’m not quite sure, and in totally different conditions.
Look, we’re exactly where we want to be in terms of a quarter-final and now we’re going to do everything we can for this week to put our best selves out there and hopefully that can get us the right result.
We know we can play to our potential and still not get it, so we’ve got to make sure we do our part and really go for it”.
The Leinster playmaker admits Ireland are taking confidence from their two recent victories over the All Blacks – Chicago in 2016 and, last November, in Dublin.
It’s an incredibly tough game but one we’re looking forward to,” said Sexton, the 2018 World Player of the Year.
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