Johnny Sexton passes Ronan O’Gara as all-time leading Irish points scorer

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Johnny Sexton has passed Ronan O’Gara to become Ireland’s all-time leading points scorer in international rugby.

The 38-year-old fly half went past his predecessor in the Irish number ten shirt during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup game against Tonga in Nantes.

Sexton began the game nine points short of O’Gara’s tally of 1,083.

Having opened the scoring with a penalty, Sexton converted Tadhg Beirne’s try before adding two more from the tee after Caelan Doris was the beneficiary of a powerful maul.

Mack Hansen’s dart to the line allowed his captain the chance to draw level with O’Gara, and the record was secured as Sexton finished off a flowing team move under the posts.

The Ireland captain celebrated with a punch of the air, embracing his teammates before knocking over the simplest of conversions to further increase his tally.

The Leinster playmaker, who will retire at the conclusion of this tournament, made his return to action in Ireland’s opening Pool B game against Romania after six months on the sideline due to injury and suspension.

He made his international debut in November 2009 against Fiji and was named World Rugby men’s player of the year in 2018.

Sexton has now climbed into the top five of the all time leading test points scorers, with his five points for the British & Irish Lions added to his total.

New Zealand legend Dan Carter tops the list, while Owen Farrell is closing in on Jonny Wilkinson’s England record and second place.

Were Ireland to reach the final, Sexton could have five more games to add to his total, but is almost certainly too far in arrears to climb further up the pointscoring charts.