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Dublin: 0°C Friday 16 April 2021

'I was ready once I got that bit of an edge': Wycherley looks back on monstrous hit on Sexton

The young Corkman made his presence felt when Sexton arrived in Thomond Park in December.

IT WAS SOME way to announce his arrival on the big stage, but Munster prospect Fineen Wycherley says there was nothing planned about his huge hit on Jonathan Sexton.

Wycherley’s hit on Sexton early in the festive derby endeared him to Munster followers, and also prompted Leinster’s recently-crowned World Player of the Year to retaliate by pulling the scrum cap off the young flanker.

“Growing up they were the big games against Leinster and I went to all those with my dad and my brothers and the whole family. Playing in that game was a massive thing for me.

“I think over Christmas we found out that Pete (O’Mahony) was being rested and it was my chance to get a start and it was playing on my mind all Christmas. I knew I just had to start well and get into the game early.

“I wasn’t trying to take anyone out or anything like that. It was just the tackle and just because it was Johnny Sexton it was obviously blown up a lot more. It was more to get me into the game rather than take anybody else out of the game.

Fineen Wycherley scuffles with Johnny Sexton Wycherley and Sexton get to grips with one another in December. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

“It was just for me to settle the nerves and I knew then I was ready once I got that bit of an edge on me. I knew I was ready to go.”

Sexton escaped with just the concession of a penalty despite pulling Wycherley’s headgear off in a game which Munster won 26-17, and the Bantry native admitted he wasn’t pleased about having to replace his scrum cap.

“I wasn’t too happy to be honest with you. I had to buy the new one and I changed from a blue one to a white one because I was getting mistaken for Tadhg Beirne. We were getting mixed up the whole time so I’ve gone to white now.”

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Head coach Johann van Graan has regularly name-checked the former Irish U20, who can play in the second row or at blindside flanker, and Wycherly is set to make his 18th appearance for the province when Munster travel to Ospreys tomorrow evening. 

“It has been a great season. I’ve been here now for two or three years and this is the first year that I have got a proper good chance and got a good couple of runs of games.

“I got a game or two in the first season and four or five in the second season and I’ve got a proper run of games this season.” 

Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey look ahead to Ireland’s Six Nations meeting with Italy and discuss the week’s biggest stories in the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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John Fallon

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