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28th Mar 2023

HOUSE OF RUGBY: Johnny Sexton’s Grand Slam gesture and Hugo Keenan on his big honour

Patrick McCarry

“Fair play to you for offering, though.”

Johnny Sexton may not have been too stunned to see Greg O’Shea at the coin toss, ahead of Ireland’s Grand Slam decider, but Owen Farrell did a double-take.

O’Shea, the former Munster and Ireland Sevens flyer, had met Farrell at a UK airport, earlier this year, and had a conversation about England in the post Eddie Jones era and dicing with Marcus Smith for the 10 jersey. A few weeks later and he walks into the tunnel at Aviva Stadium and meets O’Shea, Sexton and referee Jaco Peyper for the pre-game coin toss.

O’Shea spoke about the experience with Lindsay Peat and Jason O’Mara on the latest House of Rugby [LISTEN to the full show below] and revealed Sexton’s very sound reply when he was later offered the commemorative coin:

“It is pretty cool to have the Grand Slam coin. I messaged Johnny Sexton, to see if I could give it to him. Obviously, it was a pretty big day for him – last time playing at Aviva Stadium, Grand Slam win, captain, the whole lot. He said he already had his own medal, from winning it, so I could keep it, which was very nice of him.

“It’s a bigger moment for him, of course… I thought one of his children might want it but he has the actual medal so he doesn’t need it!”

Also covered on the latest episode, some URC thrillers, yellow cards for diving in rugby, the Women’s Six Nations and a catch-up with Ireland fullback Hugo Keenan.

Johnny SextonJohnny Sexton, Hugo Keenan, Robbie Henshaw and Jamison Gibson Park celebrate an Ireland try in New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Hugo Keenan on Player of the Championship

During our chat with Hugo Keenan, we asked him if he was out there pining to add Six Nations Player of the Championship to his latest medal haul, with Ireland. He replied:

“It will hopefully go to either Caelan Doris or Mack Hansen as they’ve both been brilliant. It could have been a number of others on that Irish team. I think there’s a few brilliant performers to the campaign as well. So it’d be nice if someone in green got it, now.

“The main thing is we, we got the Grand Slam. That was… that’s the only one I care about.”


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