News Update


Johnny Sexton, Ireland’s talisman, is ready for the last dance at the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

The highs have genuinely been tremendous. In a career filled with lofty achievements, captaining Ireland to the Grand Slam against England on home soil was undoubtedly his crowning achievement.

Indeed, after breaking Ronan O’Gara’s Six Nations scoring record that day, he compared the Grand Slam to “living in a dream.”

But it wasn’t long before Sexton was startled out of his trance. The groin injury that prompted him to leave the game against England ended his season.

Sexton was denied a last chapter with Leinster because he was sidelined. He stood by as La Rochelle, led by Munster legend O’Gara, stormed Dublin and returned the European Cup to France.

Sexton’s decision to face the referee in the immediate aftermath of that game, enraged by Jaco Peyper’s performance, called his World Cup participation into question.

But the rugby gods, who have bestowed upon the fly-half a sublime right foot and a magnetic aura on only a few, chose pity.

Sexton was given a three-match ban last month and was denied the grandeur of a Lansdowne Road farewell against England before Ireland headed off to France.

It hurt, but it was a modest price to pay considering he still has the opportunity to go where no Irish captain has gone before in rugby’s most prestigious stage.

On Saturday afternoon, Sexton will lead Ireland out in the sweltering Bordeaux heat to begin what is likely to be the most eagerly anticipated World Cup journey in the team’s history.


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