Friday 15 December 2017

‘You expect nothing less’ – Ronan O’Gara on Johnny Sexton’s monstrous penalty to salvage draw

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton finished with a 100pc kicking record against Wales
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton finished with a 100pc kicking record against Wales
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

It was his final act of the contest, but Ireland out-half Johnny Sexton shut out the pain to land a penalty into the wind to ensure Joe Schmidt’s side avoided defeat in Dublin today.

Warren Gatland’s side battled back from 13-0 early in the first half to move into the lead for the first time with less than 10 minutes on the clock when substitute Rhys Priestland maintained his 100pc record from the tee to edge the visitors ahead.

Defeat would have been very harsh on the defending champions who bristled with attacking intent throughout the first half, and were a couple of handling errors away in the second half from increasing their advantage.

In a nerve-jangling finale, referee Jerome Garces awarded Ireland penalty more than 40 metres from goal.

Facing into the wind and appearing to nurse a minor injury, Sexton made light work of the kick and RTE pundit Ronan O’Gara, a former team-mate and coach of Sexton, said he expected nothing less.

“I suppose it’s difficult for us in the warmth of the studio, but judging wby what Joe said, they were into the win,” he told viewers post-match.

“That’s [Sexton’s kick] the 10 yard line, that’s not straight in front. It’s a hard kick, but you expect nothing less. That’s Johnny’s bread and butter.

“That’s what he’s great at and the team needs that.”

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