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Johnny Sexton Explains Origin Of "I Know You Hate Me" Ref Confrontation

Johnny Sexton Explains Origin Of "I Know You Hate Me" Ref Confrontation
By Gavin Cooney

Now he is the full-time captain of Leinster and second or third in line for the role with Ireland, we are going to hear a lot more of Johnny Sexton's irascible confrontations with referees.

Sexton's narkiness was probably an overplayed element of his disappointing spell with Racing in Paris, but it does occasionally come to the fore on the field with Leinster and Ireland when it comes to dealing with officials. Most infamously, it bubbled to the surface of Ireland's third Test win in Australia over the summer.

During the game, Israel Folau clashed in the air with Peter O'Mahony, for which the Irish captain was stretchered off. During the review of that incident, Johnny introduced himself as Ireland's captain to referee Pascal Gauzere in trademark fashion.

I know you hate me, but you have to talk to me.

Speaking to Peter O'Reilly in today's Sunday Times, Sexton explains the provenance of the incident.

Per the interview, Gauzere was a touch judge in the previous Test in Melbourne, and during the game, Sexton overheard the Frenchman tell referee Paul Williams to ignore any of Sexton's in-game protestations.

Sexton overheard the comment. "I'd been captain at the time", said Sexton. "I thought: maybe he just doesn't like me. But it was nothing personal. It never is".

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The full interview can be read here.

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