Johnny Sexton Explains How He Lost Voice At World Rugby Awards

Johnny Sexton Explains How He Lost Voice At World Rugby Awards

Johnny Sexton literally could not get the words out as he stood on stage to accept the World Rugby Player of the Year award in Monaco last month.

Instead, with Sexton having lost his voice, Ireland teammate Rory Best was enlisted to read out a few lines which the Ireland out-half had penned.

"I was sick after the New Zealand game; I had a bit of a chest infection or whatever," Sexton explained the BBC 5 Live Rugby Union Weekley podcast.

"There were some good celebrations but it wasn't as wild as what it would be towards the end of the season. It was a good old night that started late. That's probably the reason why I got a little bit sick."

Sexton was still feeling unwell on the day of the awards.

I went down to do a bit of media before it and voice was fine but then we went into that drinks reception and there was a lot of people in a confined space where everyone was speaking over each other.

The longer that drinks reception went on, the more and more hoarse I was getting. During the dinner it was quite loud as well.

About two hours before the award was due to be announced, my voice went totally. I was trying everything possible to get it back: I was drinking hot whiskey, lemon and boiling water, salt water, anti-inflammatories - nothing was working. I literally could not get it back.

It was more the fear of if I won because we didn't have a clue - none of the guys nominated had no idea if we'd won. I was just sitting there stressing that if I had to go up on stage that I'm not going to be able to say a word.

Five minutes before the award, it still wasn't back so I just jotted down a few words and asked Rory to come up and say them for me. He thought I was taking the piss out of him. I wasn't, unfortunately, and it was quite embarrassing.

Sexton added that he had a few words with fellow nominee, Beauden Barrett, as they awaited the announcement.


"I whispered to Beauden Barrett about 10 minutes before [they named the winner], 'I hope you win because I can't speak.’

"That's my why I shook his hand as I was walking up to the stage, I'd been talking to him briefly. He couldn't hear a word I'd been saying but we caught up after the game in the Aviva.

"He’s a real good guy and if he's won it three times in a row, I don't think anyone would have argued really."

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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PJ Browne
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