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17th Sep 2023

“No I’m sure he will” – Johnny Sexton cracks classic ROG joke after breaking all-time points record

Niall McIntyre

Johnny Sexton became Ireland’s record points scorer with his 16 point haul in Ireland’s 59-16 win over Tonga.

The legendary out-half only played the first half but that was all he needed.

Having come into this tournament under the cloud of a long, drawn-out disciplinary hearing and a subsequent suspension, Sexton has quickly turned the mood-music upside-down.

The 38-year-old missed all of Ireland’s World Cup warm-up games due to his conduct on the day of Leinster’s European Cup loss to La Rochelle, which he sat out through injury, but the absence hasn’t affected his sharpness.

He now looks as sharp as ever.

Admittedly, Ireland’s first two games in this tournament have been against weak opposition but Sexton has none-the-less been rampant, scoring three tries in two games. His try against Tonga was most impressive as, having linked up sublimely with Garry Ringrose and his old partner-in-crime Conor Murray, he sped away before finishing under the posts.

38 years young.

It was that try which parachuted him to the top of Ireland’s all-time scoring charts. Ronan O’Gara had held the record with the 1083 tally he racked up between 2000 and 2013 and, a he chatted with the media after the game, Sexton was asked if the Munster man had been in touch to congratulate him.

“I haven’t checked my phone yet,” replied Sexton.

“I’ve no idea! Ask him. I’m not sure we’re talking to each other after the European Cup final,” he joked, “No, I’m sure he will.”

Sexton and O’Gara famously clashed during the 2009 Heineken Cup semi-final, and have understandably held something of a competitive relationship down through the years.

The Ireland captain went onto downplay the importance of breaking the record, and said it will mean more to his son Luca than it does to him.

“I was just happy to score the try. I think one of the lads said it to me under the posts and I actually thought I had got it on the kick before,” he said.

“It’s something when you retire and finish, you can look back and be proud. I think my little boy will be over the moon, he was talking about it during the week and it probably means more to him.

“He’ll chase it down now! And so will the other 10s. It’s there to be broken now and I’m sure some young guys will be eyeing it up. Look, I’m very proud to do it but tonight was about getting the win and moving onto what’s such a massive game now this week.”

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