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Thursday 24 May 2018

Sexton fires Blues back from the brink

Leinster 33 Northampton 22

INSPIRED: Johnny Sexton. Pic: Sportsfile
INSPIRED: Johnny Sexton. Pic: Sportsfile

Millennium Stadium, May 21, 2011

This came to be known as the Miracle in The Millennium as Leinster were shocked by a fired-up Northampton to fall 16 points behind at the sound of the half-time whistle.

There has been much made of Jonathan Sexton's speech, imploring his team-mates to do what Liverpool had done in The Champions Cup final against AC Milan in coming from 3-0 down at half-time in Istanbul in 2005.

Meanwhile, the forwards were engaged with Greg Feek in more practical solutions to remedying a buckling scrum.

The reaction ticked all of the boxes for the technical, tactical and physical requirements to reel off a remarkable 27 points without reply.

The catalyst came from Brian O'Driscoll's pick from the base of a ruck and Sexton's arcing break outside Soane Tonga'uiha for the first of his two tries in the 44th minute.

From there, they took over in every department, the scrum rebounding and Sexton sizzling for a second from Jamie Heaslip's pass in the 53rd minute.

The momentum had swung violently in Leinster's favour, Sexton's conversions narrowing the gap to two points.

The sense of inevitability was further enhanced when the scrum crunched out a penalty for Sexton to kick them in front by a point in the 57th minute.

The comeback was complete when second row Nathan Hines trucked it up and over the line, Sexton's touchline conversion bringing his personal haul to 28 points.

This remains the out-half's most iconic performance in Blue.

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