Rugby World Cup: Ireland captain Jonny Sexton comforted by nine-year-old son after heartbreaking loss to All Blacks

Ireland captain Jonny Sexton may have been second best on the park, but in the eyes of nine-year-old son Luca, he's still a star.  

Sexton, who holds the pointscoring record for his country, lingered on the field after the final whistle of another Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat and was comforted by his son, as the Irish players walked towards the guard of honour formed by the All Blacks.  

"You're still the best dad," Luca told him.

Jonny Sexton and son Luca acknowledge Irish fans.
Jonny Sexton and son Luca acknowledge Irish fans. Photo credit: Getty Images

The Irish first-five says Ireland gave their all, as he missed the chance to end his career with a World Cup win, after his side were beaten 28-24 by New Zealand in his final game.

"You've got to work hard for fairytale endings, we didn't get it and that's just life," said a tearful Sexton. "We didn't leave a stone unturned and we ticked every box, we trained the house down and I thought, after a slow enough start, we played pretty well tonight."

Despite his four Six Nations titles, two Grand Slams and four European Cups, Sexton and Ireland have never been beyond the last eight of the World Cup.

They came into the tournament as the world's top-ranked team, but they could not manage an elusive first knockout victory, after a dominant defensive display by New Zealand.

Down by four points, a Herculean late effort saw the Irish cross the All Blacks line after a maul, but they couldn't ground the ball and they never came close to scoring again.

"A few decisions, a bounce of the ball, one inch away from scoring a try, so fairplay to the All Blacks, they're a very good team and they're well-coached, so fairplay to them," Sexton said. 

He expressed his gratitude to his teammates and the Irish fans that had travelled to France in huge numbers for each of the team's five World Cup games.

"This last six weeks has been a dream - this group, these fans - and I'm just gutted we couldn't do it for them," he said.


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