Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has called on his teammates to focus on achieving Six Nations success instead of dreaming of World Cup glory after clinching a historic series win over the All Blacks.
Ireland became the first northern hemisphere nation to win a three-Test series over their hosts in New Zealand as a result of a 32-22 victory on Saturday in Wellington, with the result due to take Andy Farrell’s team top of the world rankings.
The odds on the Irish winning the World Cup in France next year will have shortened after their series victory over the All Blacks but Sexton wants the focus to be trained on more immediate aims.
“We’ve got a full season to play,” he said. “It shouldn’t be, ‘Beat New Zealand and then let’s wait for the World Cup’.
“There’s plenty more to play. There’s big home games in November, there’s a Six Nations to play where we still haven’t achieved the things we want to achieve in that.
“We got a Triple Crown this year, but a championship or better would be something that we’re aiming for, so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be trying to progress and do that.”
Ireland defeated England, Scotland, Wales and Italy in this year’s Six Nations but finished behind France in the standings in a competition they have not won since 2018.
“It’s very Irish to think we have to take it easy to the World Cup,” he said.
“No, we’ve got to keep making the most of it, let’s keep getting better. That has to be driven by me as captain and the rest of the leadership group.
“To turn up and show the right attitude in September when we’re back playing for our provinces and just keep getting better. That’s the key.”