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Johnny Sexton admits he has played his final game for Leinster

By Ian Cameron
Johnny Sexton has only played 84 minutes of rugby since November and other Irish stars haven't played much more (Photo By Harry Murphy/Getty Images)

Ireland flyhalf and Leinster icon Johnny Sexton has played his final game for the province, at least according to an admission made over the weekend.

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Sexton effectively confirmed that he will not be able to take part in their remaining matches of the season – including the URC run-in or any further Heineken Champions Cup appearances – due to a groin injury that he sustained at the tail end of the Guinness Six Nations.

Fans had been led to believe that there may be some hope that he would recover in time to play in the end-of-season fixtures, but those hopes were dashed after an interview he gave to the Sunday Times. In the interview, he spoke candidly about his injury and revealed that he will now be focusing on returning to full fitness for the Rugby World Cup warm-ups this summer.

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“It’s a bit upsetting to miss out with Leinster,” Sexton told the Sunday Times. “People say, ‘you’ve still got the World Cup’ and that’s true, please God.

“What I wanted to get across was that in a sense, playing for Leinster meant as much as playing for Ireland, or almost as much.”

The news will come as a blow to Leinster fans who have watched Sexton play a pivotal role in the team’s success over the past decade. Sexton has been a totemic figure in the Leinster set-up since making his debut in 2006, helping the team to win numerous domestic and European titles, including the Heineken Cup in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2018.

Sexton’s impromptu retirement for Leinster marks the end of an era for the province, and his absence will be sorely felt both on and off the field. However, the flyhalf will undoubtedly continue to be an influential figure in Irish rugby for the next six months at the very least.

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The news has a significant silver lining for Ireland fans, as Sexton’s provincial departure means Ross Byrne – who many see as Ireland’s immediate future at 10 – will be getting more invaluable game-time at the business end of the season.

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