O'Brien: Sexton ban will not affect Ireland’s World Cup preparation

O'Brien: Sexton ban will not affect Ireland’s World Cup preparation

Johnny Sexton's three-match ban will not affect the team ahead of their preparations for the World Cup, says Ireland full-back Jimmy O'Brien.

Sexton was handed the suspension for misconduct after becoming involved in what appeared to be a heated exchange with match officials towards the end of Leinster's Champions Cup final defeat to La Rochelle.

The ban means that the 38-year-old fly-half will miss Ireland™s three warm-up fixtures, but he will be available for their opening World Cup match against Romania in Bordeaux.

O'Brien told BBC Sport: "It is what it is.

"We'll just keep going, and other lads will get a chance [to play in the warm-up games]. He'll be back for the World Cup, and it hasn™t really affected us much."

Ireland are set to get their World Cup preparations under way with warm-ups against Italy, England and Samoa in August.

The tournament then begins in France in September with Ireland drawn in Pool B alongside Romania, Scotland, Tonga and current holders South Africa.

O'Brien has earned five caps for Ireland and is hoping to make the most of the opportunities provided in August's warm-up matches.

"Hopefully I get a chance to play in a few of them," the Leinster back added.

"There are so many good players I'm sure everyone will be the same and they'll all get a chance. Whenever I play, hopefully I play well and put my hand up."