Jonny Sexton will be a relieved man following the news that he will serve only a three-match ban for verbally abusing referee Jaco Peyper and his assistants, Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley at the Champions Cup final back in May.
Many believed that Sexton’s final World Cup was in jeopardy, with his actions towards the officials deemed an act that could have sabotaged his bow out from Irish rugby.
The independent disciplinary committee in charge of dishing out the punishment for the 38-year-old found him guilty of being “confrontational and aggressive towards and disrespectful of the match officials” whilst “shouting something to the effect: “It’s a disgrace you guys can’t get the big decisions right”. His actions were clearly directed towards the officials by “pointing his finger” whilst using “most likely the f-word” in his protests.
The independent disciplinary committee felt the punishment was required because “conduct was obviously unsportsmanlike and brought the sport of rugby union into disrepute.”
The veteran flyhalf has not played since picking up a groin injury in this year’s Six Nations – so his first match back, if selected, will be Irelands opening World Cup match against Romania in Bordeaux.
With Sexton set to miss Irelands World Cup warm-up matches due to his suspension, he will have to compete against the likes of Ross Byrne and Jack Crowley to earn his shirt back as the tournament progresses.
Irish fans were understandably pleased to have Sexton back in time for the World Cup, but others were slightly less impressed.
I’m glad Sexton will play in the RWC! I wouldn’t want Jonny to miss out on the opportunity to be part of the first Irish team to ever win a RWC quarterfinal.
— Sportbilly (@sportbillysays) July 17, 2023
Wait Jonny Sexton misses the EXACT amount of matches that means he doesn’t miss any part of the World Cup? Oh, and he gets to warm up with the easy group games anyway?? What are the odds!
— ScottishRugbychange (@changetheSRU) July 17, 2023
Jonny sexton,got of light imo,no real suprise there though 🙄🙄
— Gary Thomas (@gazft64) July 17, 2023