Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton has seen it all in his professional rugby career. Operating at a cerebral level that only the very best players in the game’s history have ever reached.
Seemingly seeing match moments phases before they unfold, Sexton’s eye for detail has been lauded as one of his greatest strengths.
Thus, it is little surprise that Sexton is continually dissecting a match as it unfolds.
Once again, this would be the case as Ireland edged South Africa in their gargantuan Pool B clash in Paris.
Making eleven tackles against the most physical team in the game, the 38-year-old had a front-row seat to several rucks.
It was from this position on the pitch where Sexton noted referee Ben O’Keefe offering the Springboks coaching points.
Clearly looking to keep the match flowing, O’Keefe was sublime on the night. In a bid to keep the match intensity up, O’Keefe could be heard keeping the Boks onside.
At the next break of play, Sexton can be heard on the ref mic approaching O’Keefe to discuss the matter.
Starting the conversation by explaining he understood the need to keep the match flowing, Sexton said, “I understand we want a free-flowing game, but you can’t always coach them out of the penalty.
“If he is offside, then he is offside, so you can’t bring him back onside.”
Clear, concise and accurate, the point highlighted Sexton’s exceptional communication skills in the heat of battle.
In agreement, O’Keefe agreed with Sexton’s sentiment in a fascinating insight into what happens between the white lines.
Credit to both O’Keefe and Sexton for keeping their composure in such a cauldron atmosphere.