Former Leinster and Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll has outlined that he believes Johnny Sexton can come across as “confrontational” when discussing issues with the referee during a game.
Sexton, who captained his province during their defeat to Munster last weekend, has come under scrutiny following the feisty affair which saw teammate James Lowe sent off as well as a number of other high profile incidents.
O’Driscoll, a former teammate of Sexton with Leinster and Ireland feels that although the out-half’s fiery nature is an important asset in his game, it can sometimes be detrimental when dealing with refereeing decisions.
“I think Johnny antagonised (referee) Frank Murphy a little bit early on,” O’Driscoll told Off The Ball
“I can understand to a certain degree what he was saying. I think from a captaincy perspective, Johnny is an antagonistic type of person. He always has been and he is fiery. That’s what makes him deliver time and time again because he gets that out of himself.
O’Driscoll also compared Sexton to current Irish captain Rory Best who he outlined deals with referees decisions “extremely well.”
“I don’t know if it always comes across well. It comes across as confrontational rather than conversational. That’s where the likes of a Rory Best comes into his own, where irrespective of how irked he feels, you never really know how put out he is – he’s the only one who knows. He deals with it extremely well.
“When he’s disappointed, he parks it and off he goes whereas Johnny has a bit more of a heightened appetite for conflict and so when he is trying to get his point across, particularly with a baying crowd jeering and getting into Frank Murphy’s head, you’re fighting the cause at times.
“I think that side of the captaincy, because you are the guy who is trying to lead from the front, it does filter down to the rest of the team and sometimes has a negative knock-on connotation.”