Ronan O'Gara shares class Johnny Sexton story ahead of World Rugby awards 1 year ago

Ronan O'Gara shares class Johnny Sexton story ahead of World Rugby awards

The current Ireland No.10 followed in the foot-steps of Keith Wood, in Monaco of all places.

World Rugby's annual awards bash have, for the past few years, taken place in the resplendent Principality in the south of France.

Ireland took home prizes for Team [Ireland senior men's] and Coach [Joe Schmidt] of the Year. Added to that, Johnny Sexton saw off the challenge of Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane to win World Player of the Year.

The accolade was for Sexton after he helped Leinster to a cup double, Ireland to a Grand Slam, series win in Australia and a sweep of the November internationals, including a Guinness Series triumph over New Zealand. Ireland have won all nine Test matches Sexton has started this calendar year and his form has been exemplary.

In anticipation of Sexton's pedigree and form being acknowledged at the ceremony, a number of high-profile rugby stars lined up to sing the Dubliner's praises. Ronan O'Gara shared a lovely story that sums up the Leinster star's character.

For the guts of four years, Ronan O'Gara and Johnny Sexton were fierce rivals for the Irish No.10 jersey. There was no love lost between them, in the early days, and they went at each other when on opposite side's of the pitch in inter-pro action.

They came to a working understanding in the national team and O'Gara, as the veteran, was humble enough to play a supporting role to Sexton in his final 18 months in the green jersey.

A true bond was only formed, though, when O'Gara became Sexton's kicking and skills, and then defence, coach at Racing 92 in France. The Sextons and O'Garas struck up a familial friendship over in Paris and that has continued even though both men have moved on.

Ahead of the awards ceremony, O'Gara shared a lovely story about how Sexton piled his family into the car for a long round-trip to Cork before the former Munster and Ireland legend flew out to New Zealand for a job posting with Crusaders.

These are the moments that O'Gara will long remember when the war stories of games and training sessions fade into nostalgic legend.

Great stuff from both men.