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Sexton: I'd never exaggerate an injury to get a rival punished

 

By Ruaidhri O'connor

Johnny Sexton has rejected accusations he milks injuries during games in a bid to get opponents into trouble. The Leinster and Ireland out-half came in for repeated rough treatment in recent games against England and Wasps and is currently managing a shoulder injury ahead of next week's European Champions Cup semi-final against Clermont.

Sexton came in for criticism from former Scottish and English players in the wake of an incident during Ireland's win over Scotland in the 2016 Six Nations, while an English newspaper questioned his staying down after contact after last month's win over England.

The idea clearly stung the 31-year-old, who brought it up of his own volition when responding to a question about whether he feels he is getting enough protection from referees.

"A lot of those tackles are probably borderline; timed, in the referee's eyes, quite well. They were committed. You've got to trust that the refs will keep an eye on them," he said.

"It's disappointing that people think... look, there will be times that you will stay down to make sure people have a look, but to suggest that you're staying down to milk it or whatever isn't the case.

"Anyone who has had a stinger knows what it feels like and you just need a little break to get over it.

"Someone mentioned what someone said (to me). I was told by the media manager before (the interview): you need to be prepared.

"The more you stay down, the more they're going to target you. If you stay down, it is because you're hurt, as anyone who has had those injuries knows."

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