AS Ireland finally saw off Wales at the Aviva Stadium to keep their Six Nations Grand Slam hopes alive, Johnny Sexton’s performance came under the spotlight on social media.
Much like Ireland, Sexton ebbed and flowed – he was the architect of Jacob Stockdale’s first try to put Ireland 5-3 up but missed the conversion as well as two penalties as Wales took a 13-5 lead.
Sexton came good again towards the end of the half, scoring a penalty before converting Bundee Aki’s try to send Ireland in ahead at the break.
He missed one of two conversions in the second half but Ireland saw the game out, Stockdale’s impressive interception leading to a converted try just as Wales were threatening a late score.
Despite the 37-27 victory, fans wondered whether Wales had employed the dark arts to keep Sexton quiet…
A Sexton voodoo doll is taking a massive stabbing.
— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams) 24 February 2018
— Danny Palmer (@dannyjpalmer) 24 February 2018
— TV3 (@TV3Ireland) 24 February 2018
Has Johnny Sexton got his boots on the wrong feet?#6Nations
— Oxnath79 (@Oxnath79) 24 February 2018
Sorry what is wrong with Johnny Sexton? Is there a bad breeze or wahhh
— Edaein O' Connell (@_madein95x) 24 February 2018
A lusty 'Cam On Wales' just as Sexton went to strike his third kick of the day.
It worked, 3 kicks, 3 misses.
— Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh (@Ciaran_O) 24 February 2018
Something wrong with my TV, it keeps showing Johnny Sexton missing kicks? #IREvWAL
— Alex Mullane (@Mullane45) 24 February 2018
Three missed kicks from Johnny Sexton. Someone go play him a video of that drop goal against France.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) 24 February 2018
Conor Murray took over kicking duties after Sexton went off and his penalty off the post restored a 10-point lead.
Wales’ converted try made for a nervy ending but just like in France, the tense finish would ultimately end with Irish celebrations.
With time up on the clock and the Welsh pressing to overturn their three-point deficit, Stockdale intercepted before scoring his second try of the game.
Stockdale's second seals the win for Ireland after a superb interception pic.twitter.com/IjlwNtJEJf
— ITV Rugby (@ITVRugby) 24 February 2018
— Jarlath Regan (@Jarlath) 24 February 2018
— Paul McGrath (@Paulmcgrath5) 24 February 2018
That’ll do, Stockdale.
That’ll do. #IREvWAL
— Jonathan Healy (@jonathanhealy) 24 February 2018
Stockdale you are my hero. #IREvWAL
— Killian Hanlon (@Killianhmmm) 24 February 2018
Jacob Stockdale was once bitten by a venomous snake.
After 20 minutes of agonising pain, the snake died #IREvWAL
— Matthew Watson (@mwatson011) 24 February 2018
— Barra Best (@barrabest) 24 February 2018
I’d say my screams were picked up on the international space station after that manoeuvre from Stockdale. Mother of god! #IREvWAL
— Órla Casey (@msorlacasey) 24 February 2018
3: So are the Stockdale critics willing to eat some humble pie? Claiming he wasn't up to this level and needed dropping was always ridiculous.
— Thomas Moroney (@tmoroney4697) 24 February 2018
Stockdale lets get married and have babies #IREWAL
— Ruari Fallis (@RuariF) 24 February 2018