Six Nations

Sexton frustrated by concussion claims

Jonathan Sexton has dismissed suggestions Ireland have been allowing him to play through concussions.

The fly-half has been the focus of much attention in the past year following a series of knocks, with criticism levelled at the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) for persisting with picking him regardless.

Sexton was withdrawn during Ireland's 10-9 defeat to France in the Six Nations on February 13 after being caught by a late shoulder charge by Yoann Maestri.

The 30-year-old is frustrated by ongoing questions over his wellbeing, insisting the IRFU would never take the risk of fielding a player struggling with the effects of concussion.

"A lot has been said over the last few weeks. I tried to put it to bed last week and hopefully that's the case going forward," Sexton said on Today FM.

"The IRFU and those who look after us unbelievably well are taking every measure to make sure player welfare is top of the list

"They are leading the way internationally in looking after players with concussion. That's why it is so frustrating to hear people saying I was playing through concussion.

"It was more offensive to the doctors and the IRFU than it was to me. It would suggest that they are not doing their job. That's where a lot of the issues came from.

"I have been very lucky with injuries throughout my career. I had a few knocks lately but have probably had two concussions in my career that were serious and the rest of the time just bumps and bruises really."

Ireland have mounted a poor defence of their Six Nations title and are winless from their opening three matches.

Sexton suggested the fixture list was not in favour of Joe Schmidt's side, but they will do their best to end the competition in the highest position possible.

"We have had three very tough games. We played against the biggest teams in the competition, the three toughest teams and it didn't go to plan with injuries, results-wise, all that," he added.

"After such a disappointing start, the best we can finish now is third and that's what we are going to try and do."