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Sexton apologises to Farrell for "heat of the moment" reaction in Paris

Jonathan Sexton says he had a mix of feelings regarding his reaction to being substituted in the ...



Jonathan Sexton says he had a mix of feelings regarding his reaction to being substituted in the Six Nations defeat to France in Paris. 

Many criticised the manner in which the captain greeted his replacing by Ross Byrne in the second half at the Stade de France.

One of his predecessors as captain - Brian O'Driscoll - told OTB Sports this week that Sexton's reaction was "a dreadful look"

"I don't think it is visually a good thing to have your captain coming off and shaking his head the way he did," he added.

"Visually, for the rest of the team and for Ross Byrne looking up at the big screen - it was this prolonged, visual of him looking up at the coach's box and shaking his head - as captain, you can't do that."

Monday Night Rugby | Defeat in Paris, Sexton importance, Stockdale confidence

Sexton says the air is clear between himself and head coach Andy Farrell, and that he's apologised for his reaction.

"[I was] disappointed in myself with the reaction, to a certain extent," the Leinster out-half said on Wednesday.

"Obviously if I'd known the stories that it was going to create, and the way that's it's been perceived I obviously wouldn't have done it.

"But you've got to take it from my point-of-view, it's in the heat of the moment, up there with the biggest games I've played as captain.

"Obviously it's a low point, and I reacted in a bad way for a split-second.

"I spoke to Andy after the game - I spoke to him on Sunday when I realised it was such a big thing, and we sorted things out.

"I apologised and said 'Look, it shouldn't have happened', it did, it was a split second and obviously let myself down in that regard.

"But you learn, and you move on really. I suppose it's not the first apology I've made in my career and it won't be the last probably.

"We'll move on thankfully, we've got a good relationship and there's no problems going forward."

Farrell claimed on Wednesday the reaction to the reaction was little more than a "storm in a teacup", and his captain admitted to being a little taken aback by the coverage.

"Obviously if someone said to me 'you're on the big screen', I'm not going to do it," Sexton added.

"If I'd had time to think about it, I wouldn't have done it, but you're in the heat of battle. You're playing an international, it means a lot to you, you're the captain of the team. And you're as disappointed in the performance as much as anything.

"Because, ultimately... I've got to make sure the lads are in a better place to do what they're meant to do.

"So there's as much disappointment in the situation as there is in the substitution.

"Obviously I need to deadpan it and just walk off, [but] I am who I am. Like I've said, I've apologised to the people that matter but I'm not going to sit here and apologise to the whole world.

"Because it was a split-second thing, and a split-second decision that I wish I didn't make, but I did so there you go."

Sexton insists he doesn't feel over-burdened by the captaincy, but is still looking to improve in the role ahead of the Autumn Nations Cup.

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Andy Farrell Autumn Nations Cup Farrell France Ireland Jonathan Sexton Sexton Six Nations Wales

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