Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton was cleared to play in the World Cup despite suspension for ‘misconduct’.

The iconic Clover XV opener faced a ten-match suspension but saw his sanction reduced to three matches, the EPCR, European rugby’s governing body, announced on Sunday evening.


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Jonathan Sexton before the match between Ireland and England on March 18 2023 at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin.  (PAOLO FEDE / AFP)

A lenient decision to say the least. Ireland captain Jonathan Sexton will be eligible to play in the World Cup despite being suspended for three matches for ‘misconduct’ during the European Cup final, the EPCR announced on Sunday (16 July).

“It’s free to play on August 27, 2023”the European cup organizers said in a statement. Indeed, the iconic 38-year-old fly-half will miss friendlies against Italy, England and Samoa in August as the World Cup kicks off on 8 September.

The Clover XV captain was heard on Thursday before an independent disciplinary commission over his behavior towards South African referee Jaco Peyper, following Leinster’s European Cup final defeat by La Rochelle (26-29) on May, 20th. Sidelined with injury, Sexton had not attended the game but was in attendance at Aviva Stadium to cheer on his teammates.

He will participate in his last World Cup

The disciplinary commission ascertained his behavior “confrontational, aggressive and disrespectful to match officials”said the EPCR. “He specifically pointed his finger at them and yelled something like, ‘It’s a pity you can’t make the right decisions,’ probably accompanied by an expletive.” His Leinster club, found unable to contain their player, were fined £7,500.

Had adductor surgery in the spring, number 10 had to retire at the end of the season. On May 30, however, he was on the list of 42 players selected for preparation for the World Cup in France.

Sexton, capped 113 times for Ireland, has long announced that the World Tournament will be his last competition before retiring. Settled into Group B, the Irish will be pitted against Romania, Tonga, South Africa and Scotland.

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