Leinster Not Happy With Treatment Of Johnny Sexton In Saracens Game


Leinster boss Leo Cullen says Johnny Sexton was subject to at least “three or four” off-the-ball hits in what he reckons was an “aggressive” strategy by Saracens in their Champions Cup quarter final win yesterday.

Saracens’ pack made some thumping hits on the Ireland playmaker, while scrumhalf Richard Wigglesworth hit him with a very late and high shoulder check, that only resulted in a penalty.

Shortly afterwards Sexton himself was penalised by referee Jerome Garces for kicking the ball away before a restart that resulted in Marcelo Bosch kicking a long-range penalty.

However, Cullen refused to blame Sexton. The head coach said it’s hard to not get frustrated when you’re on a receiving end of that kind of treatment.

“It is tough on Johnny,” Cullen said.

“He has been played off the ball a few times in the first half and it is hard for him not to get frustrated.

I will have a look back at the game and some of those clips again. There were three or four instances I can see where he has been hit late off the ball. I will have to look at how that unfolds because it is important to take all those things into the context of the game.

“They defended very hard on Johnny in particular in that first half. The best way to describe it is that they were going aggressively at him so there is going to be space for someone else.

“It is important to get that balance in our game so we are not aligned on one player.”

Do you think Sexton was perhaps ‘unfairly’ and ‘aggressively’ targeted by Saracens yesterday? Or is it just part and parcel – the best players, especially halfbacks will always be targeted?

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