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RaboDirect PRO12
Gopperth plays down Sexton departure
ESPN Staff
August 13, 2013
Gordon D'Arcy, Cian Healy and Jimmy Gopperth model the new Leinster shirt, Dublin, July 26, 2013
Gordon D'Arcy, Cian Healy and Jimmy Gopperth pose in Leinster's latest kit ahead of the new season © Canterbury
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Leinster recruit Jimmy Gopperth is confident that he and fellow fly-half Ian Madigan can fill the void left by the departure of Jonathan Sexton.

The Irish province powered to a RaboDirect PRO12 and Amlin Challenge Cup double last season with Sexton at the heart of proceedings but the Ireland No.10 has since opted for a big-money move to French side Racing Metro leaving his fellow international Madigan and Kiwi-born Gopperth to take the reins.

Gopperth was recruited from English side Newcastle earlier this year and fresh from steering the Falcons back into the Premiership, the 30-year-old has backed his new side to thrive despite the departure of Sexton. "With myself and Mads, I don't think - to be fair to Jono - we're losing too much," he told the Irish Times.

"We're gaining some enthusiasm with both of us. We will be biting at each other's heels, and that enthusiasm we bring might just blossom amongst the group. We have got so many talented players right throughout the backline, any one could be a star. I think we're a rounded group and that's the beauty of it."

As for his rivalry with Madigan, the Kiwi added: "It is healthy for both. You want to go into a team where you have two, three, four guys pushing for one position because it brings the best out in everybody. If you just get it too easy and you know you're No 1, you can let your form slip.

"This way we can be on each other's heels and pushing each other. There are a couple of young guys who will be pushing us as well. I'm looking forward to the challenge and I'm sure he will be as well."

Gopperth was lured to Dublin by ex-Leinster coach Joe Schmidt who has since been appointed Ireland boss, but the former Hurricanes and Blues playmaker insists he was still happy to make the switch to the three-time Heineken Cup champions.

"I was stoked for Joe, he is such a good coach and such a good guy and I am sure he will bring huge amounts of success to the Ireland team," he said. "For me, it was an opportunity, Matt was still very happy for me to come over and that's all I needed. I'm here and ready to be amongst the group and looking to really push through and get that Heineken Cup and the Pro12."

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