Johnny Sexton Closing In On O’Gara’s Ireland Record

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Ireland captain Johnny Sexton is edging closer to Ronan O’Gara’s record for the most points scored for the national team in Test rugby. O’Gara, who played for Ireland between 2000 and 2013 as a fly-half, leads the way with 1,083 points.

After Ireland’s mauling of Japan, Sexton was up to 941 points. The skipper of the national team looks set to surpass O’Gara in 2022 or 2023, as long as he stays injury free. The 36-year-old celebrated his 100th cap for the national team during that 60-5 victory over Japan in the Autumn international.

Sexton has no plans to retire from international rugby any time soon. He signed a one-year extension to his contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union earlier this year. This means he is signed up to play until the end of the 2021/22 season.

Following the fixtures in November, attention will turn to the 2022 Six Nations which begins in February. Ireland are third best in the rugby union outright betting for the trophy at 4/1. They have not prevailed in that competition since 2018, the year they won the Grand Slam.

Sexton has scored 496 points during the Six Nations. He is fourth on the all-time list behind O’Gara (557), Jonny Wilkinson (546) and Owen Farrell (500). The Irishman looks set to be involved in a great battle with Farrell for the top spot in the standings in 2022 as they chase down O’Gara’s record.

2023 World Cup A Goal For Sexton

The next World Cup in international rugby will come in 2023 in France and Sexton has expressed his desire to play in that tournament. That is sure to be his last appearance at a World Cup if he does represent Ireland.

Playing until the 2023 World Cup also increases Sexton’s chance of breaking O’Gara’s points tally, it could also see him go a long way clear of the current record. By the time the tournament comes around, Sexton will be 38 years old.

Ireland, with Sexton in their squad, have been eliminated at the quarter final stage at the last three World Cup tournaments. They were beaten by New Zealand in 2019 in a one-sided game which finished 46-14.

Since they first appeared at the World Cup in 1989, Ireland have yet to advance past the last eight. They will be hoping to put that right in 2023. With the tournament set to be held in Europe, it gives them advantage over the southern hemisphere teams.

The 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year captained Ireland at the 2019 World Cup which would have been a huge honour for him. If he can help Ireland have their best ever performance at the tournament in 2023, it will be some way to bow out.

Ireland are 14/1 in the outright betting for the 2023 World Cup. Head coach Andy Farrell has just under two years to prepare for that event. There is a lot of rugby to be played before then so plenty of opportunities for players to impress Farrell.

Sexton is already a legend of Irish rugby. He looks set to break numerous records before he retires and with O’Gara’s points tally in his sight, that may be the next to go his way.

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