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RWC 2023 · 2 min read
Having become the highest points scorer in the history of the men’s Championship, we take a look at the remarkable statistics behind Sexton’s achievement.
The first standing ovation of a memorable Saturday evening for Ireland in Dublin arrived in only the 19th minute as Johnny Sexton landed an historic penalty.
It was an important moment in the match, halving England’s early lead at the Aviva Stadium from six to three points, but it was not only in the context of the men’s Six Nations 2023 that the successful kick had significance.
By sending the ball sailing over the bar and through the posts, Sexton had become the highest points scorer in the history of the Championship. In that moment he edged three clear of his predecessor in the green number 10 jersey, Ronan O’Gara (557), who had held the record since 2011.
Sexton would go on to add a further six points, through three conversions, to take his Six Nations tally to 566 points and help his side on their way to a 29-16 victory and fourth Grand Slam.
Not a bad way for the Ireland captain to mark what was his 60th and final appearance in the Six Nations.
“You couldn’t make it up. It’s like living in a dream,” Sexton admitted afterwards.
“This is a high point, but I hope it’s not the highest point. Roll on the World Cup – that’s what we need to focus on now … This is part of the journey.”
Ireland coach Andy Farrell added: “He’s been saying all week that this is what dreams are made of. It doesn’t come around that often.
“It’s unbelievably fitting that in my opinion the best player ever to play for Ireland is able to sign off on a Grand Slam on St Patrick’s Day, in front of his home crowd.”
As Ireland and Sexton switch their attention to Rugby World Cup 2023, we delve into the statistics to look at the numbers behind the great fly-half’s record-breaking Six Nations career.
2 – Grand Slams won during his Six Nations career (2018 and 2023). Ireland have only claimed a clean sweep four times in the entire history of the Championship.
3 – drop goals, two against France and one versus Wales. Arguably the most important of those came in the final play of Ireland’s opening match of the 2018 Championship in Paris, which earned his side a 15-13 win against Les Bleus. They would go on to win a Grand Slam.
6 – successful conversions he landed against Italy in Rome on 27 February, 2021, the most he kicked in a single Six Nations match.
7 – tries he scored during his Championship career, crossing the whitewash twice in one match on two occasions – against Italy and France, both during the 2014 Championship.
9.43 – points Sexton averaged per match across his 60 Six Nations appearances. His highest average came against Italy (11.56 per match in nine appearances), while his lowest is the 8.21 points he averaged during 14 Championship matches against England.
16 – Six Nations matches Sexton played as captain of Ireland, having assumed the responsibility full-time after Rugby World Cup 2019.
22 – points, Sexton’s biggest single-match haul in a Six Nations match. The faultless kicking display, which featured two conversions and six penalties – the most three-pointers he landed in one Championship match – came as Ireland beat England 32-18 at the Aviva Stadium on 20 March, 2021.
102 – conversions landed by Sexton during his 60 Six Nations appearances, contributing 204 points to his total. Jonny Wilkinson is the next best male player with 89.
106 – penalties contributed 318 points to Sexton’s record haul. Only Ronan O’Gara and Owen Farrell, who have both landed 109, have scored more in the men’s Six Nations.
120 – points Sexton scored against Scotland (in 12 appearances) and Wales (in 14), more than he managed against England (115 in 14), France (107 in 11) or Italy (104 in nine).