Andy Farrell ribs ‘old’ Johnny Sexton after captain’s record-breaking performance

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Andy Farrell was delighted to see Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton return, but the head coach also couldn’t resist a few light-hearted jabs at his captain.

The pivot impressed in his first game back for almost six months, scoring 24 points and breaking some records along the way.

He overtook former tighthead prop John Hayes as Ireland’s oldest international and went ahead of Ronan O’Gara’s World Cup points tally.

His efforts in the 82-8 triumph over Romania put him on 102, nine ahead of Ronan O’Gara, while nine is also the magic number for the Irishmen’s overall Test points tally.

More records to be broken

Sexton sits on 1,074, just shy of O’Gara’s 1,083, which means that the playmaker is likely to surpass that at some point in this tournament.

Farrell was impressed by his skipper’s display in Bordeaux on Saturday but, while sitting next to him in the press conference, it didn’t stop the head coach from poking some fun at the pivot.

“I heard he broke a few records today,” Ireland’s boss said. “What was the record, Johnny? The oldest player to play at the tournament, that’s the first one.

“And what was the other one, points scored? Twenty-four points, puts him nine points behind the record for the most points scored for any Irish player.

“So you would think if selected that he’d be able to get that record.

“But the most pleasing point for us was definitely 60-odd minutes under the belt and firing on all cylinders and fit and healthy and ready to go for the rest of the competition.”

Sexton also reacted to his return, once again admitting fault over the Jaco Peyper incident which saw him banned for the warm-ups, before he went on to dissect Saturday’s match.

Heat and minutes

“(I had) six months thinking about it, obviously part of that was self-inflicted with my mistake,” he told reporters.

“I’m obviously delighted to be back. I didn’t expect conditions to be like that, it was incredibly hot, in the warm-up in particular.

“I’m delighted to get through some minutes, we got through some good stuff.

“But there’s lots to improve on, both individually and as a team, and we know the challenge next week (Tonga in Nantes) is going to be up a couple of levels.

“We’re very, very happy with five points and a good points difference as well, which could matter at the end of the pool.”

READ MORE: Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll gives his verdict on Johnny Sexton’s performance against Romania

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