Sex­ton show his true class

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Autumn Internationals -

So, Johnny Sex­ton’s name gets carved into his­tory along­side the in­au­gu­ral win­ner Keith Wood – the only pair of Ir­ish­men to be named world player of the year. It was never in doubt. Not after 2009 when Brian O’Driscoll – a judge in Monte Carlo – topped the try scor­ing count in Eu­rope for Le­in­ster and the Six Na­tions while guid­ing one to Euro­pean and the other Grand Slam glory. O’Driscoll threw in a phe­nom­e­nal Lions tour, un­til knock­ing him­self out with a ridicu­lous tackle that badly con­cussed Spring­bok flanker Danie Ros­souw in the se­cond Test. The 2009 win­ner was eight-time nom­i­nee Richie McCaw.

Sex­ton’s flaw­less year, which ended with a phys­i­cally im­pres­sive show­ing to de­feat Beau­den Bar­rett’s All Blacks, was enough to con­vince McCaw, John Smit, Ge­orge Gre­gan, Mag­gie Alphonsi, Clive Wood­ward, Fa­bien Galthie and Agustín Pi­chot on last Mon­day’s con­fer­ence call. It means Le Drop in Paris and ev­ery thing that fol­lowed is put on a global pedestal. He even drove to Cork to shake Ro­nan O’Gara’s hand be­fore his former neme­sis moved the fam­ily to New Zealand. “[Sex­ton] de­serves it not only for his on field qual­i­ties but also for his off field,” tweeted O’Gara. “Never had it easy, played AIL for years, nearly lost his Le­in­ster con­tract but kept per­se­ver­ing. A bril­liant player, but a bet­ter per­son with great val­ues.”

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