I am not the Zlatan of rugby, insists Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton has responded for the first time to an anonymous claim from a former Racing Metro team-mate that he was the "Zlatan Ibrahimovic" of rugby.
A concerted attack by the French press during the World Cup and, later, before Leinster's double date with Toulon, painted the Ireland out-half in less than flattering light following his unhappy two-year stint in France.
"Perception and reality can be totally different," he said. "I met all my former team-mates from Racing in the changing-room after the World Cup game.
"They were laughing about it as well because any of their comments were taken out of context.
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"When you see the level of respect the French players have for the French press you can only sit back and take it with a pinch of salt.
"I'm not Zlatan anyway. I don't know who I am. I am a man of many faces, maybe."
Sexton was one of the candidates for the Ireland captaincy but readily endorsed the claims of Rory Best, saying: "Rory will be a great captain."
Meanwhile, Leinster coach Leo Cullen played down the exclusion of starlet Garry Ringrose from the initial Six Nations squad. "Garry has gone pretty well but it is very early days for him," said Cullen.