Sexton eyes more honours

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    12 Jan 2019     Getty Images

Sexton was the first northern hemisphere player in a decade to win the honour last year and Best said Sexton was aware that winning big matches was something linked to his rugby ability.

"It's a short career, he's competitive, he wants to win things, and he knows the best way for him to win things is simply to be good at rugby," Best told the Irish Times.

While Sexton's tenacity was the obvious quality for all to see on the field, it was his driving of the standards of play that was central to the team bonding of sides he was in.

"Johnny gets that. And that's all Johnny really wants to be; the best player he can be. He wants to be the best player in the world.

"He's achieved that with the award, but now he'll want to put two in a row, and then he'll say, 'let's put three in a row'. Because he wants to be the best he possibly can," Best said.

Ireland face a tough start to their Six Nations on February 2 when hosing England and Best said Sexton would be crucial to Ireland enjoying a successful season.

Sometimes Sexton's passion spilled over with comments to teammates or referees and it was something those teammates often joked about Sexton's single-mindedness.

"If you're a competitive person, you just want to win, and that's Johnny.

"People get fixated with Johnny shouting, but it doesn't happen often and it's only because he wants to be the best, and he expects that from everyone around him. He's trying to make sure we are better prepared.

"It would be worse if he said nothing, just got angry and didn't try to help anyone.

"He's very different off the pitch, he's in the middle of everything.

"When the time comes to relax he can relax as well as anyone, he's got that balance and it's important to get that balance," Best said.