Six Nations 2017: Ireland's Johnny Sexton plays down injury concerns

Johnny Sexton: Ireland fly-half delighted to be back in action

Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton says he has been "lucky" with injuries after returning from his latest lay-off in Saturday's win against France.

Sexton, 31, missed the opening two Six Nations games with a calf problem, which came soon after hamstring and shoulder injuries.

He kicked 11 points in a superb display in the 19-9 victory in Dublin.

"I've never had a nine-month injury - it's not as bad as it is made out to be," said Sexton.

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt heaped praise on Sexton after the win over the French, which leaves his team second in the standings.

Sexton was sidelined for five weeks with the calf injury, sustained in a European Champions Cup match against Castres.

"The longest I've been out is for a shoulder injury at the end of last season," he added.

"When I came back from that I was moving badly, carrying the shoulder still and that's why I got a couple of hamstring niggles and the calf.

"I've been fortunate - I'm surrounded by guys that have had their career cut short by injury or been out for a year."

Johnny Sexton manages to get the ball away despite being tackled in the win over France
Johnny Sexton manages to get the ball away despite being tackled in the win over France

However, Sexton admits it was difficult to cope with being out for the start of the Six Nations campaign.

He said: "There's no-one more frustrated and upset when I'm injured - it was a really difficult time after all the work I had done before Christmas.

"You get stronger from these things and find out about a lot of people around you and yourself.

"It's important to bounce back. You are going to have setbacks and I'm sure I'll pick up more injuries in my career.

"It's just the nature of the game but I'll do everything I can to stay as fit as possible.

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