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Sexton snubbed by Midi Olympique

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Sexton snubbed by Midi Olympique's 'Team of the Year' XV

Johnny Sexton’s difficult weekend took another twist on Sunday evening following his omission from Midi Olympique’s international team of the year selection for 2018.

Joe Schmidt’s Grand Slam-winning Ireland, who capped their tremendous year with a win over New Zealand in Dublin, had seven players included in the respected French rugby paper’s star team for 2018.

However, while Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Conor Murray, Jacob Stockdale and Garry Ringrose all made the cut, the curious omission of Sexton stood out like a sore thumb.

The Ireland out-half, who was much criticised in Ireland for his indisciplined leadership of Leinster in their PRO14 defeat on Saturday at Munster, drove a dragger through French hearts when landing the decisive last-gasp drop goal in Paris to steal a Six Nations win last February.

However, despite going on to lead Leinster to European glory in Bilbao against this former Racing 92 club and then hitting the heights again in November with Ireland, Sexton lost out to Beauden Barrett, the New Zealander he pipped last month to the World Rugby player of the year award.

Midi Olympique described its vote as ‘cruel’ in putting Barrett ahead of Sexton in an annual selection dominated by the Irish and the Kiwis.

Barrett’s inclusion at out-half helped New Zealand take up five positions in the prestigious XV, leaving a player each from Australia and South Africa to fill the remaining two slots.

MIDI OLYMPIQUE TEAM OF THE YEAR
15 – Israel Folau (Australia)
14 – Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)
13 – Garry Ringrose (Ireland)
12 – Ryan Crotty (New Zealand)
11 – Jacob Stockdale (Ireland)
10 – Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
9 – Conor Murray (Ireland)
1 – Cian Healy (Ireland
2 – Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
3 – Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
4 – Sam Whitelock (New Zealand)
5 – Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
6 – Peter O’Mahony (Irerland)
7 – Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
8 – CJ Stander (Ireland)

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Sexton snubbed by Midi Olympique's 'Team of the Year' XV