Rugby

Johnny Sexton Answers George Hook Advice That He Should Retire

Johnny Sexton Answers George Hook Advice That He Should Retire

Writing in the Irish Independent last month, George Hook suggested that due to his perceived history of head injuries, perhaps - at the age of just 30 - it would best for Johnny Sexton to hang up his boots.

That column was written following Leinster's defeat to Wasps in the Champions Cup - a game in which Sexton was replaced after just ten minutes following a knock to his head.

Sexton's tackling technique is deeply flawed, as he carries his head too high at the tackle, leaving him exposed to heavy hits - the forearm smash by Mathieu Bastareaud being the perfect example.

The latest brain injury could be career-defining for Ireland's No 10 and will not easily be overlooked by him passing 'the protocols'.

What price is the 30-year-old prepared to put on his future health? How many more blows to the head is he prepared to take in the name of professional sport?

Maybe it's time he gave serious consideration to cashing in his insurance policy and leaving rugby with his faculties still intact.

Speaking to the Irish Times' Gerry Thornley ahead to today's game at Twickenham, Sexton responded to Hook's advice. He also clarified just how many concussions he has sustained in his rugby career.

He thinks I should have retired when I was 21 (laughs). He’s still in the O’Gara camp even though Rog has retired. Look, what can you say to that? I don’t know if he actually believes that. You’ve got to take it with a pinch of salt, and people have to promote themselves, they have to sell papers. People look after themselves at the end of the day.

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There is a perception that Sexton has suffered a myriad of concussions in his career. However, Sexton believes he has only ever suffered two 'proper' concussions.

There were other occasions when I had one or two minor symptoms. It’s a grey area, but I’d say I’ve had two proper ones. Two.

One was when I was 23, and that was probably the most serious one, and nobody wrote about it. And then I got one against Australia [in November 2014] but because I had taken a couple of knocks previously I was advised not to play for 12 weeks. Two ‘outright’ ones in my career.

Watch: What Are RTÉ Playing At With Their Montage For England Vs Ireland?

PJ Browne
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