New Zealand aim dig at Ireland star Johnny Sexton after Rugby World Cup win

Rugby World Cup: Highlights day 23

New Zealand coach Ian Foster has aimed a dig at Ireland hero Johnny Sexton days after the All Blacks dumped the Northern Hemisphere team out of the Rugby World Cup. Sexton is one of the greatest players to ever don the Ireland shirt but retired from the sport after winning his 118th cap at the weekend.

Sexton enjoyed an incredible Rugby World Cup as he helped Ireland finish top of Pool B with four wins from four matches. The 38-year-old bagged three tries, 15 conversions and two penalties in the pool stages and even inspired his country to victory over semi-finalists South Africa.

But the quarter-finals proved a step too far for the reigning Six Nations champions and they came out second best following an epic showdown with the All Blacks at the Stade de France.

Following the encounter, Sexton was captured by the ITV cameras shouting aggressively towards Rieko Ioane. The New Zealand centre had reportedly been seen shushing Ireland fans and cupping his ears just metres away from the heartbroken Sexton. And the Ireland star had to be led away by his team-mate Jack Conan.

Read more… South Africa chief has suspicion over Rugby World Cup ref for England clash

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Foster was asked about the incident as he previewed his side’s semi-final against Argentina. And the All Blacks coach took the opportunity to dig out Sexton as he appeared to make reference to the player’s indiscretions with officials after last season’s Champions Cup final which led to a three-match ban.

“It happens on most sporting parks when tensions are high and a lot at stake,” Foster said. “Unfortunately recently it’s also included players saying a few things to referees. Is it right for the game? I don’t know. You don’t hear a lot of players complaining about it.”

And New Zealand captain Sam Cane backed up his coach. “It’s players’ different personalities and emotions running high in those moments,” he added. “There’s always people who have different tactics but it’s always just left out there.”

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There had been concerns that Sexton would miss part of the Rugby World Cup following his heated exchange with officials after Leinster had been defeated by La Rochelle in the Champions Cup final in May.

An independent disciplinary committee said that Sexton’s behaviour was “confrontational and aggressive towards and disrespectful of the match officials”. And they concluded: “It included his pointing his finger at them and shouting at them something to this effect: ‘It’s a disgrace you guys can’t get the big decisions right’, probably accompanied by expletives ‘most likely the f-word’.”

But his ban ultimately ended ahead of the tournament.

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