Johnny Sexton damages cheekbone in match-ending collision with Jarrad Butler
LEINSTER 41-12 CONNACHT
"A head injury for Johnny Sexton perhaps taking the shine off it a little bit. You can see the scar on his left temple."
The Leinster captain has only played 236 minutes in the United Rugby Championship this season. After his second half collision with Jarrad Butler, some Leinster and Ireland fans will be wishing he had played even less.
The Blues won 41-12 against Connacht after scoring seven tries, to go 11 from 11 in the URC and extending their league-leading position in the process.
Liam Turner got the scoring underway for Leinster, nice and early, but Connacht answered back to their host's three first half tries with two of their own [through David Hawkshaw and Tom Farrell].
Jordan Larmour's second try of the night secured a try-scoring bonus point for Leinster, after 44 minutes, and that was where the game sat when Sexton had his big collision. Connacht captain Jarrad Butler made a carry, just inside the Leinster 10-metre line and Sexton was extremely upright.
Sexton does like to go into many of his tackle attempts with a high stance, and he has often copped bit dunts - memorably from Mathieu Bastareaud in 2014, during a Six Nations encounter in Paris. Again (below) Sexton went high, there was a head-on-head collision and it could easily have been a Connacht penalty.
"It doesn't look too good for Johnny Sexton"
During the next break in play, after a Connacht knock-on, Johnny Sexton left the game and there was clear damage to his left cheek.
The Leinster captain was replaced by Harry Byrne and sat on the replacements bench holding a big ice pack to his injured cheek.
"He was probably a little bit high going into the contact area, as he likes to do," said Rob Kearney in the post-match analysis on Premier Sports. "A nasty collision... a little bit of a dint, and it doesn't look too good for him."
Stephen Ferris, his fellow pundit, said Connacht calls for a Sexton card - yellow or red - were worth closer inspection but it would have been "harsh" as it was a soak tackle and 'unfortunate contact'.
The Six Nations is a month away, and Leinster have some big Champions Cup fixtures, so all close to Sexton will be hoping that the outhalf's injury is more superficial than anything structural.
As for the rest of the match, late tries from Rob Russell, Ryan Baird and a screamer from Josh van der Flier made the final scoreline look ugly for the Westerners.
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