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08th Feb 2022

Referee mic picks up Josh Adams exchange with Irish players after Johnny Sexton tackle

Patrick McCarry

The Cardiff star was not having it, but he could have no complaints with the call.

Watching from the upper level of the West Stand, at the Aviva Stadium, on Saturday, it was clear as day that Josh Adams had diverted course to thump into Johnny Sexton.

Wales were trailing 17-0 at this point [48 minutes in] when Tomos Williams chipped a ball over Ireland’s defensive line for Adams to chase. Sexton looked to have the bouncing ball covered but he never even got his hands on it. Adams turned and smashed into the Ireland captain, leaving him in a heap.

Play rolled on, with Sexton eventually dragging himself off the deck, but the Television Match Official alerted match referee Jaco Peyper to the possibility of foul play. At a break in play, the South African ref and his TMO began a discussion as replays rolled.

“Do you want to look at that, or is it both players going hard at the ball?” Peyper initially asked. He then added:

“Play it real speed… He’s looking at the player, isn’t he? No intention to play the ball… He’s looking at the player. Leading shoulder… Not a head-contact basis. He picks the player and drops the shoulder. Yellow card.”

Josh Adams

Josh Adams reaction after Johnny Sexton tackle

No sooner had Josh Adams dropped Sexton like a sack of potatoes, the nearest Ireland players – Tadhg Furlong and Jamison Gibson-Park – gave the Wales and Lions star an earful. On the referee’s microphone, the converted centre was heard telling them where to go:

“Oh f*** off!”

Adams could have no complaints and off he went. By the time he had returned, Ireland had added an extra try to their tally and, at 24-0, it was game over.

Ireland ended up winning 29-7 and, after the game, Wales coach Wayne Pivac described the Adams-Sexton collision as ‘just one of those things’.

“Seeing it live, the referee saw it as two players colliding and he let play continue,” Pivac added. “He then said the ball went one way and Josh went the other. It’s one of those things. It’s been picked up and Josh has been yellow-carded. We move on.

Sexton, for his part, was not looking to make any more of the incident. Asked about the Adams hit, post-match, he said:

“Yeah, I’m okay. It was dealt with on the pitch.

“I can’t really answer about [why it happened] as I was on the receiving end. You’d have to ask him about what his intentions were.

“Look, it was one of those things, a bouncing ball. It was dealt with on the pitch and we got on with it. We made it pay, thankfully, with a couple of tries.”

Next up for Ireland is a trip to Paris to face pre-tournament favourites France. Wales, who should have Adams available, are at home to Scotland.