Johnny Sexton showed the public his true colours on Saturday as the emotions of the day brought out his considerate leadership qualities, according to former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman.
The Irish captain took to the field for the 100th time in an Ireland jersey on Saturday when Ireland took on Japan. He joined the likes of legends John Hayes, Paul O'Connell, Cian Healy, Rory Best, Ronan O'Gara and Brian O'Driscoll as the only players to have played in over 100 tests for Ireland.
After the match, Sexton was presented with a samurai sword by the opposition captain Lappies Labuschagne, following a rare and emotional interview on RTE.
Speaking on the Sunday Paper Review, Jackman discussed the emotional interview and how it disproved the false perception that many fans have had about Sexton in recent years.
"I think the public are starting to see the real Johnny Sexton," Jackman said. "There were times when people were critical of him in terms of a look he gave a teammate or how he spoke in the press or looked to sulk.
"What you get with Johnny Sexton is what you see. The emotional side that we saw yesterday, he is like that when he feels like that in the dressing room.
"There are a lot of players or coaches who cover up their raw emotions. He is just a very good family man, very proud to play for Leinster, very proud to play for Ireland."
Sexton is one of the most respected players in recent years, with all of his teammates, past and present, praising him for his leadership, professionalism and ability.
Jackman believes that the celebration for his 15th international try, which brought the Aviva stadium to a standing ovation and rapturous cheers, shows just how loved Sexton is by his teammates.
"You saw how much his team respect him with how they celebrated when he scored," Jackman said. "He is a real, authentic leader, and he has been a leader since he was 19 or 20.
"He's much-loved by anyone who has ever played with him, much detested bay anyone who has ever played against him. I think that is what you want in an elite sports performer.
"Teams know that if Sexton's on form, he has a big influence on the game. It was a lovely moment for him yesterday, well deserved.
"Again, it is typical of him that he is thinking back to Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden etc. I spoke to him and, as Leinster captain, he was very conscious of what they could do to recognise Fergus and Rob's influence and careers at Leinster, in COVID.
"He was actively out there and looking to try and find ways to make it special."
SEXTON AT HIS UNDERSTATED BEST | TIME FOR EXPERIMENTING IS SHORTER | NEW ZEALAND AWAITS
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