Former Ireland International Says Johnny Sexton’s “Tantrums” Are “Unacceptable”
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Ireland international Iain Henderson last week told provincial teammate Jacob Stockdale not to take it “personal“ after Johnny Sexton was seen losing the plot with him a little bit after he failed to take a pass in the win over Italy last weekend.
Sexton was seen saying “fucking catch the fucking ball” as he came off the pitch to be replaced by Jack Carty in reference to Stockdale. But Henderson said it’s because Sexton “cares so much” and that he “got shouted at by Johnny loads of times.”
The lock said it used to get him a first but understands now why he does it. But former Ireland outhalf Tony Ward isn’t buying it. He feels it’s an area of his game that Sexton needs to address and has challenged Joe Schmidt to keep him under control.
“Wrong, Iain. Sexton’s behaviour in Rome – and I don’t care if he is World Player of the Year – was unacceptable. Real leaders support teammates, particularly in moments of crisis.” Ward wrote in his column for the Irish Independent
“To excuse that tantrum, with Jack Carty making his debut, as “part of me” is just not good enough.”
“Equally, to suggest that a nasty temperamental edge somehow equates with being more competitive or having a stronger drive or greater commitment to the cause is wrong.”
“I repeat what I said in the aftermath of that Christmas meltdown against Munster in Limerick: I love Sexton the player, he is a class rugby act and superb tactician, but Sexton the captain/leader you can have.”
“And please spare comparison with Roy Keane at his fiery but equally self-absorbed best. Great leaders inspire, they don’t alienate.”
“There is a fear factor building around our key player that cannot possibly benefit team morale.”
“It needs to be checked and there is only one man to do it. Johnny has thrown down the gauntlet, it’s time for Joe Schmidt to take it up.”
What do you think? Does Ward have a point? You can read his column in full here.