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Sexton Believes Ireland Vs New Zealand 2016 Was Pivotal Moment In Rugby

Sexton Believes Ireland Vs New Zealand 2016 Was Pivotal Moment In Rugby
By PJ Browne
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Johnny Sexton is in a good mood. Ask a question, you’ll get an honest, well-thought-out answer.

Still, that trademark crankiness makes the odd appearance. It makes for an interesting mix.

An example: The Ireland out-half is asked about Ross Moriarty’s comments late last month regarding his yellow card for a late hit on Sexton during a Pro14 game between Leinster and the Dragons.

Moriarty suggested that Sexton receives special treatment from referees; that if the Ireland out-half did what he had done, officials would look the other way.

“He implied me and the refs have a great relationship?” said Sexton at his unveiling as a MACE ambassador.

I think he’s misguided there.

I was surprised because I think anyone who watched the game saw that what he did: shoulder charged. I wouldn’t have done that to another player.

I wouldn’t shoulder charge someone in the back when they don’t have the ball. I don’t have to worry about it.

The new tackles laws - which have bothered so many since their introduction - have not affected Sexton.

“I've been okay so far, haven't I? I haven't been yellow carded or red carded or cited so I'm going okay.”

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Still, he’ll have a word with Andy Farrell once he gets to Ireland camp just to check if the Irish defence coach has anything for him to work on.

Sexton believes a major turning point in rugby came two years when New Zealand gained revenge in Dublin for Ireland’s victory over them in Chicago.

That game left Ireland battered - Robbie Henshaw was forced from the pitch after an infamous high tackle from Sam Cane.

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“There were two tackles in that game where, if they happened now, they could be red cards.

“They’re doing everything they can to make the game as safe as possible. The hard thing is they have to take the grey area out of it - they’re saying if it’s a shoulder to the head, then it’s a red card. If they keep applying that, then we’ve just got to be more careful.

“I suppose that’s what you need to do because if it’s left to perception then it’s always like an opinion and you can’t having opinion making decisions. If they’re going to go this way, once it’s consistently reffed, happy days.

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“I felt a little bit for Cipriani because I don’t think it was malicious or there was intent to hurt anyone.

“At the same time, it’s a shoulder to the head. At the same time, it is very hard and you can understand both arguments but they’re trying to clean the game up and player welfare is at the forefront of their thoughts. It’s probably a good thing for the game.”

See Also: Conor Murray Has Given Simon Zebo 'Stick' Over New Munster Arrival

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