Brian O'Driscoll: Johnny Sexton's captaincy style comes across as 'confrontational'

Brian O'Driscoll. Photo: Sportsfile

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thumbnail: Brian O'Driscoll. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll believes that Johnny Sexton's "antagonistic" nature doesn't help in his dealings with referees.

The World Player of the Year's captaincy style has come under the microscope in recent days as the fallout from Leinster's tempestuous defeat to Munster continues.

O'Driscoll played alongside Sexton for eight years and while he believes that his fiery character makes the out-half the outstanding player he is, O'Driscoll insists that it can have a "negative knock-on" effect for the rest of the team as a whole.

"I think Johnny antagonised (referee) Frank Murphy a little bit early on," he told 'Off The Ball'.

"I can understand to a certain degree what he was saying. I think from a captaincy perspective, Johnny is an antagonistic type of person. He always has been and he is fiery. That's what makes him deliver time and time again because he gets that out of himself.

"I don't know if it always comes across well. It comes across as confrontational rather than conversational. That's where the likes of a Rory Best comes into his own, where irrespective of how irked he feels, you never really know how put out he is - he's the only one who knows. He deals with it extremely well.

"When he's disappointed, he parks it and off he goes whereas Johnny has a bit more of a heightened appetite for conflict and so when he is trying to get his point across, particularly with a baying crowd jeering and getting into Frank Murphy's head, you're fighting the cause at times.

"I think that side of the captaincy, because you are the guy who is trying to lead from the front, it does filter down to the rest of the team and sometimes has a negative knock-on connotation."