Rugby - Sexton happy to uphold tradition

Ireland star Jonathan Sexton will head to a new career in France satisfied that Warren Gatland's class of 2013 "did the Lions tradition proud".

PA Sport
Rugby - Sexton happy to uphold tradition
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Jonathan Sexton, centre, scores a try during the third Test

The fly-half playmaker scored a try during the British and Irish Lions' 41-16 third Test demolition of Australia, and he proved a major attacking catalyst throughout. And he was quick to recognise the scale of a Test series victory that was the Lions' first since they toppled South Africa 16 years ago.

"This is huge for me," said Sexton, who will now join wealthy Paris club Racing Metro from Leinster on a lucrative six-figure deal.

"Everything you win is very special, but this is just unique. You are playing with guys you barely know, and you have to forge that bond. You saw by the celebrations that we did that. We did the Lions tradition proud.

"The big motivation as a player is you want to be remembered when you hang up your boots, and you try to win as much as possible and do the right things as much as possible. Winning a Lions series is definitely part of that."

Unlike in Melbourne seven days previously, the Lions took the game to Australia early on, and they were rewarded by building a 19-3 lead just before half-time.

And although the Wallabies clawed back that deficit to just three points, Sexton's try was part of an unanswered 22-point blitz that meant the Lions claimed the second biggest-winning Test margin in their 125-year history.

"It's very easy when the momentum goes that you think it's not your day," he added. "I am really proud of the way we stuck in there. No-one changed the plan and no-one panicked (at 19-16), and we swung it back.

"The set-piece was the difference. Obviously, our scrum was dominant, and in the lineout we got a bit of ball and we used George (North), Jamie (Roberts) and Tommy (Bowe) to get us over the gain-line and on the front foot.

"I ran the inside line for my try, but when I saw it on the replay, I thought 'oh no, he (referee) is going to do it for a forward pass which would have been the biggest let-down ever. But thankfully, Leigh's (Halfpenny's) hands went backwards and I caught it behind me."

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