'As good at 36 as he's ever been': Ireland's star ominous form has rivals on notice
Leinster’s 64-7 beating of Bath at the Rec highlighted the stark differences between the two sides for the second time this season, as the Irish club ran riot running in 10 tries.
Sexton had a hand in many Leinster tries as he orchestrated proceedings with precision with Leinster’s attack firing on all cylinders.
Sexton and Keenan combined again to put right wing Jordan Larmour into a half gap that the 24-year-old took 40-metres to score Leinster’s third of the day under the posts.
After a Robbie Henshaw break into Bath’s 22, Sexton threaded a well-placed grubber kick into the lap of O’Brien for his second try before the halftime break. INto injury time, he laid on another try with a short ball to Ciaran Frawley from short range.
O’Brien had his third after a piece of quick thinking from Sexton, who used a penalty tap to put a cross-field kick in.
Sexton’s day out had fans praising the 36-year-old as being ‘as good as he’s ever been’, and ‘by far’ the best 10 in Ireland. Ireland’s strategy of managing Sexton’s playing time over the last few years seems to be working to extend his career.
Johnny Sexton is as good at 36 as he’s ever been.
Elite of the elite. #BATvLEI
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) January 22, 2022
— Eamonn McGurk (@McGurkEamonn) January 22, 2022
Johnny Sexton warming up nicely for the Six Nations.
Looks very sharp.
— Cian Tracey (@CianTracey1) January 22, 2022
Sexton rolling back the years as he cuts through the Bath defence. Leinster looking good with ball in hand & it feels only a matter of time / dip in Bath’s fitness before Leinster rack up the tries.. #bath #LeinsterRugby #BATvLEI 0-5 #ChampionsCup
— Mark Foley (@mecafolidas) January 22, 2022
Grubber and crossfield kicks were direct tries for O’Brien from Sexton.
That doesn’t include running, passing and other chips that lead to other tries. Sexton was our best player today. And doesn’t matter he missed 3 conversions when he makes 7.#BATvLEI #leinster
— Brian O’Farrell (@BrianOFarrell) January 22, 2022
Honestly, when Johnny Sexton eventually retires, rugby will never be the same. A pioneer of the game who makes it looks effortless. So good to see him back! @btsportrugby #HeinekenChampionsCup #BATvsLEIN
— Tom Wade (@tomjwade) January 22, 2022
Why would be play any more? What’s he got to prove. Leinster usually well able without him against weaker teams. He comes out for Ireland and when Leinster need the big guns. It’s a good strategy
— Stark McBark (@thequiggers) January 22, 2022
“I’m very happy to eat my words. He has been superb.”ADVERTISEMENT
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) January 22, 2022
Irish TV pundit Matt Williams had been a skeptic thinking Sexton’s career was at the end over 12 months ago, however said he was ‘very happy’ to eat his words on RTE’s post-match coverage.
“Yes, and I’m very happy to eat my words. He has been superb,” Williams told the panel.
“Just after the 2019 season, after the World Cup, I thought ‘ok, with his age, father time has caught him, like it catches us all’ and Mea Culpa! I’m wrong.
“He has been absolutely brilliant for a guy his age, to keep doing what he is doing, he made some line breaks today, to have the courage to take the ball to the line, knowing you are going to get snotted as you put the ball out.
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