Sunday 21 January 2018

Johnny Sexton played third Test against the All Blacks with broken wrist​

 

Irish out-half Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Getty Images
Irish out-half Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Getty Images

Ruaidhri O'Connor​

Scans have revealed the extent to which Johnny Sexton bravely battled through the pain barrier during the Lions' third Test draw against New Zealand two weeks ago.

The Irish out-half came into the game with a fractured wrist, suffered in the second Test win in Wellington, before rupturing a tendon in his ankle during the opening half of the decider in Auckland, the Irish Independent understands.

Sexton damaged his wrist in the second half of the famous victory over the All Blacks, but strapped it up for the series decider. After the 15-all draw, he underwent scans that revealed a broken bone in his arm.

Despite his injuries, the 31-year-old played on before being withdrawn with seven minutes of the final Test remaining having led the tourists' comeback against the world champions as they secured a famous draw.

Recovery

Although he finished the campaign with two injury problems, the good news for Leinster and Ireland fans is that Sexton's pre-season is unlikely to be overly affected by the issues as he works towards a recovery.

His wrist is currently in a splint but is expected to heal in time for his pre-planned delayed return to UCD, while his ankle does not require surgery.

That will come as a boost to Leinster coach Leo Cullen who is already without centres Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose for the start of the campaign, with Seán O'Brien also a major injury worry after he damaged his shoulder during the third Lions Test against the All Blacks.

News that Sexton played injured should put to bed some of the critical commentary of the Ireland star, who was accused of brittleness in certain quarters of the English press before the tour began. Having come into the tour on the back of a disappointing end to his Leinster season, he opened with a poor display against the Provincial Barbarians but played his way into form; going on to play a leading role in resurrecting the series. Warren Gatland left him out of the first Test in favour of Owen Farrell and Ben Te'o, but the coach turned to Sexton after losing heavily at Eden Park and the switch was one of the catalysts for the Lions' turnaround in fortunes.

Leinster and Ireland will be hoping he carries his end-of-year form and fitness into the new campaign once he has recovered from his injuries.

Irish Independent

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