Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll believes France will target Johnny Sexton in next week’s crucial Pool D decider at the Millennium Stadium.
The Leinster flyhalf was a central figure in Ireland’s 16-9 victory over a dogged Italy side today at the Olympic Stadium in London.
Asked on ITV, what could decide next week’s game, which will see the victors face Argentina rather than the mighty All Blacks, O’Driscoll said: “It’s the age old phrase of games being won by the forwards and backs tend to decide by what margin and I don’t think next week will be any different.
“France will come with a very attritional, very aggressive game, trying to stop Johnny Sexton being on the ball and if they do that they could be halfway there.”
“The one thing about him (Sexton), is that he is probably the one constant in the team. He’s got brilliant variety to his game and we all saw it a couple of years ago with the Lions.
“His attacking threat and his ability to beat defenders and use his trail runners and what’s really came on as well is knowing when wingers are playing high and he can nudge the ball in behind.
“He picked the corners and took advantage of the naivety of the Italian wingers coming up high and it kept his forward pack in front of him.”
BOD believes today was a wake-up call for Joe Schmidt’s side and big improvements are necessary.
“Very positive after the first couple of games, maybe not so positive today,” he added
“We’re going to have to perform an awful lot better than that 80 minutes if we’re to progress as pool winners.”