Johnny Sexton rejects claims he ‘milks’ hits to win penalties

Ireland outhalf is in favour of global rugby calendar but not at expense of players

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton  during the Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster’s Johnny Sexton during the Champions Cup quarter-final against Wasps at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

In a debate as broad reaching as player welfare, Johnny Sexton seems an apt choice. It is not always a position the Ireland and Leinster outhalf finds comfortable. His ‘get on with it’ drive can sometimes be frustrated by endless questions about health matters imagined or real. Today it is his shoulder, which, he says, is “good thanks”.

The issue of ‘fake hurt’ first arose with Sexton in Ireland’s 35-25 win over Scotland

Sexton’s body has always been a theatre of discussion that he is often asked to wearily defend. But he also understands that in the slings and arrows of the professional game, while sympathy is generally with him, he can neither win nor lose the perception game. It just is.

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