TIME WAITS for no man or woman on this earth and this is especially true for the elite sports stars that grace the field, one of these is Ireland's top choice at fly-half Johnny Sexton.
Sexton is about to come into his seventh year in an Ireland jersey and it's not to be forgotten how fruitful his time in an Ireland jersey has become. Sexton has won 3 Six Nations Championships in 2014, 2015, 2018, 1 Grand Slam in 2018, and 1 Triple Crown in 2018.
Sexton celebrated his 36th birthday in July and even hinted that this season could be his penultimate in an Irish Jersey. He's often been targeted by opposition players and has had a list of injuries during his career.
The Rugby World Cup kicks off in France in 2023 and the fly-half's replacement hasn't been decided by head coach Andy Farrell just yet.
Ex Leinster team-mate Gordan D'arcy suggested that NFL quarter-back Tom Brady could be an inspiration for Johnny Sexton, as Brady is nearing his mid 40's.
When Stuart Lancaster arrived in Leinster he challenged Sexton to push out his career in a playing capacity, citing quarterback Tom Brady as an example of a player whose drive was undiminished as his 40th birthday approached," D'Arcy wrote for the Irish Times.
Brady now 44 aston sly threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns for the first time ever. He led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl title, eight months previously. Sexton by the time the Rugby World Cup comes around in 2023 will be 38 and it's imperative that Ireland find a way to get the Brady magic formula.
Brady won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots before claiming a record seventh ring after he joined the Buccaneers in 2020.
While it's mighty impressive what Brady has done in the modern era, rugby isn't the same as the NFL though and that should be obvious to everyone. The physical demands of rugby doesn't compare.
Sexton may have to overcome his own late career transition if Ireland are to have their best possible chance at World Cup glory in France, he remains the optimal man for the job and that could be a problem.
Two stints with Leinster, a two-season stay with Racing 92 in Paris and two tours with the British and Irish Lions and 15 years since Sexton's senior debut have come with a couple of knocks.
D'Arcy was aged 35 when he retired, but did say Robbie Henshaw was waiting in the wings to assume Sexton's role for Ireland.
Sexton finds himself at a similar point in his career, He said that the Dubliner remains "on merit first choice for his province and the national team."
"It’s not in his [Sexton's] nature to step aside, that cussedness an essential character trait, integral to his personality and one that has served him admirably particularly in adversity. He was never going to simply hand over a jersey. An issue for Leinster and Ireland is no one has been able to take it from him."
Munster playmaker Joey Carbery's injuries in recent years have halted the momentum to take over the No. 10 jersey from Sexton.
Billy Burns and Leinster brothers Ross and Harry Byrne, don't have Sexton's nous and big game pressure in an Ireland jersey.
There is a genuine dilemma 22 months out from the Rugby World Cup as to the identity of the person best equipped to drive Ireland in the number 10 jersey," he continued.
"As things stand that person is Sexton. There are two questions that follow. Can Johnny maintain those levels? Is someone capable of displacing him during that time frame?"