Friday 20 July 2018

'He's not a cheater, he's a champion' - The French reaction to Johnny Sexton's magical 83rd minute drop goal

France's players react next to Ireland's fly-half Jonathan Sexton after losing the Six Nations rugby union match between France and Ireland at the Stade de France
France's players react next to Ireland's fly-half Jonathan Sexton after losing the Six Nations rugby union match between France and Ireland at the Stade de France
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

There was one name on the lips of all the French players after last night's pulsating Six Nations encounter in Paris... Johnny Sexton.

After 41 phases that saw Sexton execute a retrievable drop-out and a stunning cross-field kick, the Leinster flyhalf somehow dissected the posts from 42 metres to snatch a 15-13 win from the jaws of defeat at the Stade de France.

There were scenes of jubilation among the Irish players as their French opponents slumped in despair.

The reaction to the French display has been largely positive with Guilhem Guirado earning most of the plaudits for a tireless performance at hooker.

Most of the post-game chat was focused on one man and one moment.

Yacouba Camara dismissed suggestions that Ireland's flyhalf had conned the French by letting on he had cramp in the lead-up to the match-winning drop goal.

"He's a little rascal," he told Eurosport

"He's not a cheater, he's a champion. He had cramps and suddenly it was better for him. He played the shot well."

Sexton's former racing 92 teammate Teddy Thomas told L'Equipe: "Just before we saw him on the ground with cramps. No doubt he has hidden his game well (laughs). He's one of the best 10s in the world. He's in good shape and he demonstrated that today."

Prop Dany Priso said: "Even when we do not make a mistake, he still manages to achieve his goals."

Full-back Geoffrey Palis told L'Equipe: "He's tried from 50 yards because they couldn't get closer and unfortunately, he succeeded."

A headline in L'Equipe summed it up for Les Bleus 'Du paradis à l'enfer'.... 'From paradise to hell'.

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport