Johnny Sexton speaks out on his three-game ban for the first time

A big mistake.

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has spoken out for the first time following a three-game ban that saw him miss the entire Rugby World Cup warm-up series.

Following Leinster’s Champions Cup final defeat to La Rochelle back in May, Sexton confronted the match officials and was ultimately handed a three-game ban from rugby.

The panel decided that he was “confrontational and aggressive towards and disrespectful of the match officials”, and that “his conduct was obviously unsportsmanlike and brought the sport of rugby union into disrepute.”

Sexton admitted the charge to the panel and has doubled down, revealing it was “his own fault” after he was named in Andy Farrell’s 33-man Rugby World Cup squad on Sunday.

“It has been incredibly frustrating to have to sit and watch,” he said

“Obviously it’s my own fault. I just had to do what I could for the team and try to learn by watching the guys, try to contribute where I could and it was particularly tough last weekend in the Aviva, but you live and learn and I hope to move on now.”

The report into the matter concluded that Sexton pointed the finger at the officials and said something along the lines of, “It’s a disgrace you guys can’t get the big decisions right” and Sexton is fully aware he was in the wrong.

“I held my hands up straight away,” Sexton added.

“I made a mistake in the heat of the moment, obviously I was very emotional on the day not being part of what I had mapped out at the start of the year was playing my last game for Leinster in the Aviva, winning a European Cup.

“It’s one I had dreamt of and then obviously to miss that, there was a lot of emotion and in that split second when I went on to console my teammates, I made a remark and regretted it instantly.

“You make mistakes, you say sorry and hold your hands up and that’s what I’ve done.”

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