IRELAND HEAD COACH ANDY FARRELL has insisted that Ireland's Grand Slam finale won't be about Johnny Sexton this weekend and the performance on the day is the more important than personal sentiments.
Sexton has played 112 times for Ireland and featured in 60 Six Nations games.
Ireland's game at the Aviva against England will be Sexton's final outing in the Six Nations. The 37-year-old also has a chance to break Ronan O'Gara's Six Nations points record of 557.
Ireland's game against England could result in a first ever Grand Slam win at home if they pull it off.
Despite all the background noise around the game Farrell believes that his Ireland side will concentrate on the task at hand when the sides kick-off at 5pm on Saturday.
🏉 𝐄𝐑𝐀 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐓𝐎 𝐀 𝐂𝐋𝐎𝐒𝐄 ☘️
Johnny Sexton is trying to avoid the spotlight and emotion of playing his final #SixNations game, at home in Dublin, in a Grand Slam decider, against England, on St Patrick’s weekend | ☘️
🎙️ @ashoreilly@VodafoneIreland | #TeamOfus pic.twitter.com/VqRcsUpDRl
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) March 15, 2023
“We acknowledge it (Sexton's final game), we get it out there, and make sure that we understand that it’s just about performance," claimed Farrell.
"I mean, Johnny has done it all his life. He’s had big occasions, big games, where he’s put pressure on himself to be at his best, and this is no different for him.
“No, hopefully there’s bigger games than this to come (for him). We know it will be his last Six Nations game, but he’ll be playing in a couple of warm-up games here over the summer before we go to the World Cup as well.
"We know it’s a huge occasion for Johnny and it’s very fitting. He gets to have a crack at a game like this in his last one but that won’t detract anything from the only thing that matters, which is performance and being at our best.”
Sexton has also echoed his head coaches' comments and said performance will come first before anything else on the day
Of course, but once I start getting dragged into that, you start getting away from how you're going to make that happen. Process, performance and making sure that you're nailed on," said the Leinster 10.
"I'm trying to get away from it as much as I can. I knew the questions were going to come but look, I have got a bit more emotional the further I've gone on definitely, so it'll be about trying to hold that back but use it as well because hopefully it'll be a special day."
Ireland's game can be seen live on Virgin Media and BBC One.