Sexton preparing for ‘toughest game we’ve ever faced’ against New Zealand

Sexton preparing for ‘toughest game we’ve ever faced’ against New Zealand

Despite coming into the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals as the sport’s No. 1 side and on the back of a 17-game winning streak, Johnny Sexton says he expects Saturday’s encounter with New Zealand to be the biggest challenge Ireland have ever taken on.

Ireland secured their place in the last eight with an emphatic 36-14 victory over Scotland to make it four wins from four in Pool B and set up a last-eight showdown with the All Blacks.

At 38, Sexton has enjoyed his fair share of encounters against the Kiwis and was part of the Ireland team that won a series in New Zealand for the first time last year.

However, the fly-half admitted the All Blacks pose a very “different” threat now to then.

“I’ve had some great battles against New Zealand over the years,” Sexton said. “What you learn is that every game is as tough as the last no matter what the result is.

“We’re preparing for the toughest game we’ve ever faced and we’re trying to put ourselves in a frame of mind that we’re going to be ready for it.”

One of the key changes New Zealand have made recently has been to add former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to Ian Foster’s coaching s

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