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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

O'Driscoll backs team-mate Sexton

Venue: Royal Dublin Society, Dublin Date: Saturday, 21 November Kick-off: 1715 GMT Coverage: Live coverage on BBC2 NI, BBC Red Button, BBC Radio Ulster MW and the BBC Sport website

Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton won a Heineken Cup medal with Leinster last season

Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll is backing Leinster team-mate Jonathan Sexton to make a seamless transition to Test rugby on his debut against Fiji.

"Jonathan's a very talented player and has a strong work ethic. He puts a lot of thought into his game and does a lot of background work," said O'Driscoll.

"We knock him for his encyclopaedic knowledge of games we've been involved in. He can recall crazy things.

"He's getting better with every game and has a great future in Irish rugby."

Sexton is poised to make his first appearance at the RDS, with head coach Declan Kidney hoping to uncover a credible alternative to Ronan O'Gara at fly-half.

The 24-year-old enjoyed his breakthrough season last term, topped by the maturity he displayed in helping Leinster claim their first Heineken Cup crown.

"It's been a huge six months for him, coming in at the semi-final of the Heineken Cup and controlling things the way he did.

"Then he gave a big performance in the final and this year he has been very solid and controlled things well," added O'Driscoll.

Sexton was an unused replacement in last Saturday's 20-20 draw with Australia and is delighted to finally realise his boyhood dream by winning his first cap.

"This is a very proud moment for me and my family. This is different to winning the Heineken Cup which is a team thing," he said.

"Getting selected by Ireland is a personal thing but is something I've wanted since I was a kid.

"I've focused on not trying as hard to make things happen. I was trying too hard at the start of last year.

"I've relaxed a bit and I'm not concentrating on the mistakes I make. I have a more positive outlook."

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see also
Sexton to make debut for Ireland
17 Nov 09 |  Irish
Ireland 20-20 Australia
15 Nov 09 |  Irish
O'Driscoll praises Irish attitude
15 Nov 09 |  Irish
Ireland v Australia photos
15 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Ireland v Australia as it happened
15 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Kidney has faith in his front row
12 Nov 09 |  Irish
Prop Healy wins first Ireland cap
11 Nov 09 |  Irish
Hayes ban reduced to five weeks
13 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union
England 9-18 Australia
07 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Horan out of Ireland autumn games
06 Nov 09 |  Irish
Henry called into Ireland squad
27 Oct 09 |  Rugby Union

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