The embrace that Johnny Sexton and Mathieu Bastareaud shared was one of respect. At 18 stone, Toulon and France utilise Bastareaud as a human battering ram, none more evident that when they play Ireland. In the last two games between the two countries, Johnny Sexton has felt the full force of the Toulon giant.
In their embrace at the end of the game, Sexton asked Bastareaud, "Why always me?" referring to the amount of times that Bastareaud has run at Sexton in the last two games. By all accounts, Bastareaud is a gentle giant in person, and the way Sexton stood up to all the punishment yesterday was extremely impressive, and deserves the respect that Bastareaud is clearly showing him.
There is now a compilation of the pair's clashs, starting with Last March's Six Nations decider where Bastareaud caused Sexton's first concussion. The gentleness in Bastareaud does appear in that clip as he shows obvious concern for his fallen victim.
Pre warning: the head clashes, lifeloss body falls and blood are the biggest feature of this video and have been known to make people squeamish.