History was made in Wellington on Saturday, with Ireland defeating New Zealand in an away test series for the first time ever. Captain Johnny Sexton was once again heroic on what was a famous night for Ireland.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton spoke to Sky Sport NZ after the game. Despite the game kicking off at 8:05am Irish time, Sexton was in no doubt that the Irish public would have enjoyed the game (perhaps with a tipple or two), and that he and his teammates were going to go fairly hard at the celebrations.
Johnny Sexton ready to party after history made in Wellington
Johnny Sexton has now led Ireland to a grand slam, a triple crown, and now a test series win in New Zealand. The legendary Irish captain turned 37 during the week but is showing no signs of slowing down, playing a pivotal role in Saturday's win.
In his post-match interview with Sky Sport NZ, Sexton thanked the Irish public for their support, and joked that they may have enjoyed a few breakfast pints for the occasion:
I bet we had four million people at home up for breakfast - probably having a few pints watching us! We speak about them all the time, we want to do them proud. All our families, either here or at home, we wanted to do them proud as well. We certainly did that.
Even if we didn't get the result, the effort was incredible. It's a very special day. We're playing against the best in the world, the very best. To come down here and do it is very, very special.
It's clear how much belief there is. It starts with the main man, with Faz [coach Andy Farrell] - he's come in here, he's changed things, he was brave at the start and he stuck with some older lads and got criticised. He brought in some younger lads...he's just done an amazing job, all credit to him, really.
Sexton landed a mammoth kick in the first half at a pivotal moment to stretch Ireland's lead to 12 points, and was close to landing an even bigger kick in the second half.
Johnny Sexton goes from distance and lands an 𝐄𝐍𝐎𝐑𝐌𝐎𝐔𝐒 kick!
🗣️"He is the TALISMAN!" 👏 pic.twitter.com/ArxqCuokZ7
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) July 16, 2022
He was consistently excellent across the test series, as were so many of his Irish teammates.
Questions will be asked, however, of the fact that Ireland appear to be peaking in the year before a World Cup, just as they did in 2014 and 2018. Sexton addressed those concerns without even being asked by Sky, and said that this series win will mean nothing if Ireland cannot build towards France 2023.
It means a lot now. I know in a year's time when the World Cup starts it won't mean anything, as we've learned before. We'll certainly enjoy tonight - and maybe a couple more days! - then we've got to keep improving. That's what we need to learn from previous years, we need to keep improving. This group of boys, the management we've got, they're a very special group and I'm so proud to be a part of it.
The final word from Johnny Sexton on Ireland's historic win over New Zealand was devoted to the plans for celebrating the victory.
Quiet enough celebrations tonight, we'll have to recover well! Nah...
The wry smile on Sexton's face hinted there will be nothing quiet about the Irish celebrations in Wellington.