Six Nations: Johnny Sexton is Ireland’s greatest player – Andy Farrell

Dylan Coetzee
Six Nations: Ireland's captain Johnny Sexton celebrates winning the Grand Slam

Head coach Andy Farrell labelled Johnny Sexton as Ireland’s greatest player ever after the veteran led the side to a 29-16 win over England and secured a fourth Grand Slam.

It was the first time Ireland had secured a Grand Slam in Dublin and did so on St Patrick’s weekend.

Sexton created history along the way by surpassing the great Ronan O’Gara as the highest points scorer in Six Nations history in what could be the 37-year-old’s final game in Rugby’s Greatest Championship.

Greatest ever

Farrell reserved special praise for his skipper, who believes he is the best to ever put on Ireland green in rugby union.

“He’s been saying all week this is what dreams are made of,” said Farrell. “It doesn’t come around that often.

“And it’s unbelievably fitting that in my opinion the best player ever to play for Ireland is able to sign off on a Grand Slam, on St Patrick’s weekend, in front of his own crowd.

“There are a lot of stars that have aligned over the course of the last eight weeks and come together this evening.”

The clash was tight as a well-prepared England side showed their class. However, a red card and a late Irish surge proved too much for Steve Borthwick’s side.

Farrell found it difficult to unpack his emotions on what is a historic day.

“I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, feel a bit sad. It’s a weird feeling at this moment in time,” the coach said.

“I’m just elated for the boys just to get it over the line because it meant so much to them, especially being here at home, being only the fourth one in Irish history. The first one at home.

“It’s a special occasion, especially with the weekend that’s been outside of our hotel.

“We felt a duty that we couldn’t let people down and I would say there’s a sense of relief to get the job done but immensely proud.

“Grand Slams are not just won on nights like this, they’re won over the time we’ve been together. We’ve been building to this and I’m just glad we’ve got the job done.”

A dream come true

Meanwhile, Sexton was grateful to have claimed the Grand Slam as captain of Ireland in what he described as “one of the best days” of his life.

“We’ve won a Grand Slam, it’s pinch yourself stuff,” said Sexton. “You couldn’t make it up really. It is the stuff of dreams.

“I always wanted to captain Ireland and this fella (Farrell) asked me to do it. That was probably one of the best days of my life and then to have this today, even better.”

READ MORE: Six Nations: Ireland secure Grand Slam after hard-fought victory over 14-man England