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Like the DVD, but live: Sexton partying like it's 1997 after sealing series win

Break out the Dom Pérignon, Mr Bond.

Image: David Davies/PA Wire/Press Association Images

IT’S BEEN A mixed bag of a Lions tour for Jonathan Sexton, but the greatest moment arrived for him on the final day.

The Ireland out-half had his position almost set in stone heading to Australia. His creative streak, kicking game and sheer will to win made him an obvious choice. But under Warren Gatland only the latter two qualities were called for.

Today, he at least got his passing stats into double figures, but was still asked to kick 10 balls away in a rigid game-plan which left him underutilised.

At the moment, though, he doesn’t care. As the familiar chords of Wonderwall began to ring around the ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Sexton was instantly transported back 16 years.

“It feels like you’re in the Lions DVD [but] live.” He told SkySports. “That’s how it feels sometimes, you have to pinch yourself.

“This song, these scenes, you remember them from 1997 and to be part of the next team to do it is a dream come true.”

As tends to be the case with a driven competitor as Sextonis, he didn’t always look quite like a man living the dream. He shook his head in disgust when he was withdrawn after just 65 minutes having put the Lions firmly in the driving seat. Owen Farrell instead given the honour of leading the victory lap over the final 25 minutes.

That place in the stands gave him plenty of time to take stock and Sexton dedicated the series win to both Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll. And Sexton managed to sum up the feeling in the nation when talking about the generals missing from the field.

“We wanted to do it for Paul with injury, and then for Brian to miss out… I’m so disappointing for him I felt like I had been dropped myself.

“We wanted to win it for him and send him off in the best way possible.”

When the DVD comes around, O’Driscoll’s name and story will form a massive chunk of the film, but above all the detail it will be Sexton’s smiling face remembered as the defining moment.

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Sean Farrell

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