Tuesday 20 February 2018

We'll fight to land another Slam for Brian, vows Sexton

Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton

Rugby Conor George

JONATHAN Sexton believes there is at least one more glorious chapter to be written in the Brian O'Driscoll story.

The Ireland and Lions out-half spoke emotionally about the devastation and shock the veteran centre and his team-mates experienced when O'Driscoll was dropped from the team for Saturday's deciding third Test against Australia.

"Because I'm so close to Brian, when he wasn't selected it was tough for me. I almost felt like I was dropped myself because he wasn't going to be there for it," said Sexton (above).

"For Brian to miss out, it was obviously devastating for him. As a close friend, I was really sad not to see him there.

"But he was delighted in the dressing-room. That shows the mark of the man. He spoke in training during the week even though he wasn't playing and wanted us to win.

"It would have been very easy for him to be bitter and throw the toys out of the pram but the way he reacted shows the true mark of the man."

Sexton believes that the pain and disappointment experienced by O'Driscoll at his shock omission can be channelled and used to Ireland's advantage over the coming 12 months and the last year of O'Driscoll's playing career.

Sexton gave an insight into just how stunned the whole Lions squad was on learning O'Driscoll's fate – "we all pictured him being captain and lifting the trophy and that would have been a great way for him to go" – but has predicted a few more highs yet to come.

"Maybe it's going to finish on a different note. Maybe he's going to lift another Grand Slam. We'll do everything as Irish players for him to finish on a high. He deserves that. And then there's the All Blacks too. Maybe the All Blacks in November and then a Grand Slam."

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