Johnny Sexton's half-time gesture to Joey Carbery speaks volumes 1 year ago

Johnny Sexton's half-time gesture to Joey Carbery speaks volumes

"Yeah, we couldn’t have done it without Jordan Larmour, Garry, Joey, these young guys have been exceptional."

Simon Zebo, Donnacha Ryan, Jared Payne, Sean O'Brien, Rhys Ruddock, Tommy O'Donnell, Niall Scannell, Jamie Heaslip, Andrew Trimble, Tommy Bowe.

That is just a selection of the experienced Ireland internationals either missing through injury or not required by Joe Schmidt and his coaching staff during the 2018 Six Nations.

Instead, Schmidt backed many of the young men whom he had give debuts to over a highly instrumental 18 month period in Irish rugby. Never before have so many raw, young talents been pitched in at Test level and told to enjoy themselves, but to get the job bloody well done.

Andy Farrell may have been the one doling out the expletives but the direction from Schmidt was clear - we're backing you, now don't let us down.

Not a single one of the young men - Andrew Porter, Dan Leavy, Jacob Stockdale, Joey Carbery, James Ryan, Jordan Larmour, Chris Farrell - did. They all contributed greatly to Ireland's Grand Slam success.

On Saturday, having been forced to watch much of the action from the sidelines, Carbery got ample chance. He did not shirk and delivered when it mattered.

He entered the fray just after England had scored through Elliot Daly, with Johnny Sexton off as a blood sub and Peter O'Mahony in the sin-bin. The 22-year-old got straight into it, called plenty of ball on himself, made a couple of nice breaks, hearty tackles and kicked a touchline conversion after Stockdale's try.

On The Hard Yards, former Munster and Ireland centre James Downey was [from 9:00 below] was glowing in his praise of the Leinster player. Downey also spotted a class moment between Carbery and Sexton at half-time.

Crucial kick nailed. The boy became a man.

Downey said:

"Joey nailed a touchline conversation and, I don't know if you caught, but Johnny was stood on the sideline as he came off. All the players ran off at half-time but Johnny waited until Joey came over.

"He high-fived him, patted him on the back of the head and the two of them ran in together. It was just that unity and togetherness; it's great."

It was a lovely gesture from one man who is playing at the top of his game to keep the other away from his No.10 jersey.

Credit: ITV

"The influence Johnny is having on Joey is immense," said McLaughlin.

"He's shadowing Johnny in training, do the plays, watching how about he goes about his kicking practice. It is immense for him."

Teammates and rivals but the respect both men have for each other is clear.