Johnny Sexton has questioned the “strange” negativity around Ireland’s Rugby World Cup campaign, insisting Joe Schmidt’s men are ready to peak for their quarter-final against the All Blacks.

Sexton insisted Ireland knew Japan’s quality before their 19-12 Pool A defeat against the tournament hosts, and the fly-half has called on his side to produce one of their best performances against the All Blacks.

“We’ve been building pretty well apart from that poor 60 minutes against Japan – everything else has pretty much gone to plan,” Sexton said. “There’s been some negativity around us and we’d feel that’s been pretty strange. But we’re really confident in how we’re building. We’d like to be playing a bit better in some regards at times, but hopefully we can put that performance out there on Saturday.

“We’re very self-critical in terms of our performances and obviously after the Japan game we would have liked to have done things differently. But we knew how good a team Japan were, so we…

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Johnny Sexton urges Ireland to peak against All Blacks at Rugby World Cup | Sport
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