Gatland On Why Sexton Starts Tomorrow & Who’s Kicking Between Him & Greig Laidlaw
Johnny Sexton will be given a chance to make the ten jersey his own as he starts for the Lions in the playmaker role tomorrow morning.
Head coach Warren Gatland admitted Johnny Sexton he needs more time on the field after a lacklustre performance in the PRO12 semi-final.
England outhalf Owen Farrell is on the bench for the game in Whangarai, with Wales number ten Dan Biggar the other outhalf in the 41-man squad.
“Johnny has been great. He knows he’s under (pressure), knows he needs to get some games under his belt,” Gatland told the Daily Mail.
“He knows that the competition is pretty fierce in that position, but he’s a competitor and that’s what has made him one of the best 10s in world rugby. I’ve got no doubt he’d want a good performance from himself on Saturday.
“We’re starting Johnny because he hasn’t played a lot of rugby. The three 10s came in together but we felt Johnny needed to start this first game, get some rugby under his belt and get off to a good start because he hasn’t played a huge amount.
“His first concern was who’s going to do the goal-kicking because Greig (Laidlaw at scrumhalf) is obviously a quality goalkicker as well.
“But Neil Jenkins told him he is (kicking). He is confident and happy enough with that decision.”