By Ross Sanderson • 18 September 2023 • 20:15
Johnny Sexton becomes Ireland's all-time leading points scorer.
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Over the weekend, Ireland played their second game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup and recorded a comfortable 59-16 win over Tonga in Pool B. Andy Farrell’s side are number one in the world, the favourites to win the competition this year and look unstoppable on the pitch, having already scored 141 points in just two games. All the attention, however, has turned to their iconic playmaker Johnny Sexton.
As the mercurial flyhalf crossed the line against Tonga to score Ireland’s fourth try of the game, the world stood up to applaud the new all-time leading points scorer in the country’s history. 1090 points and counting. Sporting legend Ronan O’Gara had previously held the record for years after he retired from the game in 2013 with 1083 points. Sexton taking the top spot from O’Gara is all the more impressive when you consider that the third-placed scorer is more than 500 points off of them both.
Not only that but Sexton is now also the fourth-highest pointer scorer in international rugby. On his 115th Ireland cap, the Leinster man surpassed the great Neil Jenkins, who scored his 1090 points between 1990 and 2003. Only Owen Farrell, Jonny Wilkinson and Dan Carter now sit above Sexton.
Both records were broken, too, by the oldest player to ever pull on the green jersey at 38 years and 65 days old. Sexton made his debut for Ireland in a game against Fiji in November 2009 and has been a mainstay in the side ever since. He has won four 6 Nations Championships and three test series, one of which includes the famous win over New Zealand last year.
Aside from the two years he spent in France at Racing 92, Sexton has played his entire club career at Leinster and is the leading points scorer there too with 1646. In domestic rugby, he has won four European Champions Cups, six top-flight titles, one Challenge Cup and two Irish Shields. He has played for the Lions on two separate tours and won International World Rugby Player of the Year in 2018, making him only the second Irishman to do so.
As a true legend of the game, Johnny Sexton continues to break records and is undoubtedly one of the greatest to play the sport. There is so little left for him to achieve, both personally and collectively. Except, maybe, to win Ireland their first World Cup. If ever there was a chance, it is now!
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Based in Edinburgh, Ross is an NCTJ-qualified journalist. Having previously lived in Madrid, he specialises in Spanish Culture, Sport and Cuisine.
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