The Irish rugby public were probably only concerned with the form and well being of one Sexton this weekend. The Sexton family, however, had a different perspective.
Having left Ireland camp early last Thursday, due to club commitments with Racing Metro 92, Jonathan Sexton rejoined the Ireland camp in Carton House last night after the Parisians surprisingly lost their first home match of the season to Oyonnax. Sexton featured for 40 minutes of the 21-17 defeat before retiring with a hamstring ‘tweak’, according to coach Laurent Labit.
Johann Goosen, Sexton’s understudy, played the second half and has been recalled to the Springbok squad that trains at Stradbrook in south Dublin today.
But the progress of another Sexton should be noted here. Jerry Sexton's, Johnny younger brother, made his debut for the Exeter Chiefs in their 28-27 victory over Gloucester in LV Cup. Another Leinster native, Shane Monahan, was on the wing for Gloucester.
The most obvious difference between the Sexton siblings is size; Jerry’s a strapping secondrow. The 21 year old first came to prominence on the 2010 St Mary’s side that reached the Leinster schools semi-final before going on to represent the Ireland under-20s.
That almost led to a deal with London Irish, having been overlooked by Leinster, before he signed with Auch in France’s Pro D2. Sexton is currently on a 14 week trial with the English club, initially as cover for the injured Dean Mumm.
Meanwhile, Bernard Jackman's Grenoble had a nightmarish return to the Stade Mayol yesterday, where they won last season, losing 61-28 to Toulon.
Top 14 debut
Centre Chris Farrell was the only Irish man starting against Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha, who also linked up with the Springboks in Dublin last night, while 20-year-old loosehead prop Denis Coulson came off the bench in the 49th minute to make his Top 14 debut.
There were four exiles starting for London Irish in their 17-16 loss to Leicester. Eamonn Sheridan and Eoin Griffin were the centres, Jamie Hagan play- ed looshead instead of his regular tighthead slot while Conor Gilsenan was at number seven.
Hagan had just broken into the Irish squad when leaving Leinster for London last season. Marty Moore and Rodney Ah You subsequently passed him by.
Griffin was a regular in the Connacht midfield until making the decision to leave. Gilsenan was a brilliant schoolboy backrow for Clongowes, winning two Leinster schools medals before struggling to break into the Leinster team. After a loan spell with Connacht last season he switched to England.
Sheridan, an imposing centre, was born in Birmingham but entered the Leinster academy before moving to Rotherham then Irish in 2013.
Of the Irish in Scotland, James Downey featured for Glasgow in their victory over Treviso while former Ulster prop John Andress came off the bench for Edinburgh in Friday’s loss to Leinster.