We will not be holding anything back against South Africa – Johnny Sexton

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton is adamant his side will not hold anything back when it comes to using certain plays against South Africa at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

ith the two teams set to meet in the pool stages of next year’s World Cup, there has been some suggestion that Ireland and the Springboks may engage in a bit of shadow boxing in order not to reveal their full hand, but Sexton has rubbished that notion .

The 37-year-old out-half also downplayed the significance of Ireland being the No 1-ranked team, as he pointed to the World Cup as being the real barometer of success.

South Africa, who have named Cheslin Kolbe at full-back for the first time, will arrive in Dublin as world champions, with Sexton quick to make it clear that Ireland will not keep anything in reserve in terms of tactics.

“No, for us, the World Cup is 12 months away, before we play South Africa, or just under that now,” Sexton said.

“Both teams will evolve, I’m sure, over that period. Both teams will lose players, both teams will gain a couple of more young players.

“So, we will be in a very different position in 12 months’ time come the World Cup – for better or worse. So, we won’t be holding anything back.

“If we got a win on Saturday it would be great, if we don’t then we learn from it. We’re going to learn both ways. We haven’t played against them in a few years and I think it’s what we need.

“They’re in our group at the World Cup and we have to make sure we take the learnings from it, win, lose or draw, but we’re going in there to try and win the game, don’t get me wrong .”

Meanwhile, Bundee Aki is training with the Ireland squad despite his eight-week ban, which will end in time to allow the Connacht center to be available for the Australia game on November 19.

Ulster skipper Iain Henderson has also been involved in training this week, as he steps up his recovery from a hand injury.

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