Sexton will miss Rugby World Cup warm-ups against Italy, England and Samoa


A ban for misconduct will see Ireland captain Johnny Sexton banned for upcoming matches with Italy, England and Samoa. But the bottom line from a recent hearing will please Irish fans: Sexton will play in World Cup matches from the get-go.

Sexton was in the dock after admitting misconduct towards match officials in the aftermath of Leinster’s Heineken Champions Cup final loss to La Rochelle at the end of May.

And in what felt like a drawn-out deliberation, an independent disciplinary committee for European Professional Club Rugby found the 38-year-old fly-half was “confrontational and aggressive towards and disrespectful of the match officials”, with referee Jaco Peyper and his team of officials in the firing line.

In the official statement on behalf of the disciplinary commission it was also stated of Sexton’s actions: “It included his pointing his finger at them and shouting at them something to this effect: ‘It’s a disgrace you guys can’t get the big decisions right’, probably accompanied by expletives, ‘most likely the F-word’. His conduct was obviously unsportsmanlike and brought the sport of rugby union into disrepute.”

Sexton has the right to appeal against the decisions, with a deadline of 4pm on Wednesday.

Johnny Sexton ban for three matches

Sexton is banned for three Rugby World Cup warm-ups, but if selected will be free to play Ireland’s opening World Cup match, against Romania on 9 September in Bordeaux.

A ban for misconduct towards officials could carry a lengthier ban, and the panel, chaired by Christopher Quinlan KC, found Sexton’s conduct was “obviously unsportsmanlike and brought the sport of rugby union into disrepute”. However, due to mitigation his ban was reduced to three matches.

Sexton is free to play again on 27 August.

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