Six Nations 2015: Jonathan Sexton inclusion defended by Irish bosses

Jonathan Sexton gets treatment after being concussed in Ireland's game against Australia in late November
Jonathan Sexton has not played since he suffered concussion in Ireland's win over Australia on 22 November
RBS Six Nations: Ireland v France
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin Date: Saturday, 14 February Kick-off: 17:00 GMT Coverage: Live on BBC TV, HD, Red Button, Radio 5 live, Radio Ulster FM, the BBC Sport website, mobile, the BBC Sport app and Connected TV.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has strongly defended the decision to play Jonathan Sexton in Saturday's Six Nations game against France.

Sexton will start after three months out because of concussion and former France international Laurent Benezech said his inclusion was "a big mistake".

However, the IRFU said there had been "inaccurate commentary" by "individuals with no medical expertise".

They added that Sexton had been cleared to return to play on 5 February.

The fly-half could have played in last weekend's win over Italy.

"Player welfare is the primary concern of the Ireland medical and management team," the Irish rugby governing body added on Friday night.

"All of the medical experts directly involved in the management of Johnny Sexton are satisfied that he is fit to return to the field of play."

Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton

Sexton was stood down from action by independent neurologists instructed by French club rugby's governing body in December.

The IRFU statement continued: "Johnny was cleared to play on Thursday, February 5 by independent neurologists in France and Ireland, the FFR (French Rugby Federation) concussion review committee, the Racing Metro medical team, the Ireland medical team."

Ireland's statement was all the more unusual given the detail within it was not revealed or volunteered in a Friday lunchtime news conference, despite much discussion of Sexton's situation.

It also followed last weekend's controversy after the game between Wales and England in Cardiff when home wing George North was allowed to play on despite appearing to lose consciousness at one point.

Sexton himself remains unmoved, admitting he fully expects to see battering-ram Mathieu Bastareaud in his face in the opening exchanges against France.

"I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that they are going to do that," said Sexton.

"Hopefully that first tackle will get me into the game."

Sexton has been out since he suffered concussion in Ireland's win over Australia on 22 November.

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