Johnny Sexton Explains His ‘I Know You Hate Me’ Comment To Pascal Gauzere

My captain.

Johnny Sexton has always been an inspirational leader both on and off the pitch, despite never really having the title of captain.

But that changed over the last few months. In the absence of Rory Best for Ireland’s tour of Australia over the summer, Sexton was named co-captain alongside Munster’s Peter O’Mahony.

And even more recently, the talented playmaker was announced as the man to replace recently retired Isa Nacewa as captain of Leinster. No one has questioned either. Everyone knows Sexton has proved he has what it takes to captain at the highest level.

But looking back to that Australia series, Sexton was forced to takeover the captaincy duties from O’Mahony in the third Test, after the back-row was forced off with a nasty head injury.

As O’Mahony was still recovering, Sexton stepped up straight away, proving his worth as captain, calling for referee Pascal Gauzere to take another look at the challenge in the air with Israel Folau that resulted in O’Mahony’s injury. And with it, uttered the now famous words:

“I know you hate me, but i”m the captain now – you have to talk to me.”

But what did Sexton mean by this? Well it turns out a little encounter with Gauzere in the previous Melbourne Test caused Sexton to react in such a way.

Speaking to Peter O’Reilly in the Sunday Times, Sexton says Gauzere was running the line in that Test and had urged referee Paul Williams to ignore Sexton’s remonstrations. How does he know this? Because he overheard it while reviewing the game.

“And I’d been captain at the time,” says Sexton.

“I thought: Maybe he just doesn’t like me. But it was nothing personal. It never is.”

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