Being Johnny Sexton: how do you fill in for one of the greatest players in the game?

The talismanic 38-year-old rugby fly-half hasn’t played since his injury against England in March. Can his understudies step up to his level?

Jonathan Sexton during the Ireland rugby squad captain's run at the Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux on Friday. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

As the clock ticked past the 26th minute of Ireland’s final pool game at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, talismanic fly-half Johnny Sexton lay stricken on the Cardiff turf having suffered a groin injury.

The biting tackle France’s Louis Picamoles hit him could have been a hammer blow to Ireland’s chances of making the quarter finals. Thankfully, it proved not to be as Ian Madigan, his 26-year-old replacement, landed two conversions and a penalty to ...