Leinster will have an uphill task to fill Sexton's leadership void - Caelan Doris

Johnny Sexton retired from professional rugby at the end of 2023 Rugby World Cup in France
Johnny Sexton retired from professional rugby at the end of 2023 Rugby World Cup in France

Leinster number 8 Caelan Doris believes the province will face an uphill task of filling the void created by Johnny Sexton's retirement.

The former Ireland captain announced retirement from professional rugby following Ireland's quarter-final exit in the recently concluded Rugby World Cup in France.

Sexton started his professional career with Leinster in 2006 and moved to Racing 92 in 2013 before rejoining the Irish province in 2015. He bows out as a four-time Heineken Champions Cup winner and a six-time Pro14/United Rugby Championship champion apart from winning four Six Nations title with Ireland that includes two Grand Slam.

Doris stated that Sexton's absence will be huge for the club on and off the field.

"He had a knack for seeing absolutely everything on the pitch, keeping it in mind for a few phases and then delivering it precisely, sometimes angrily as well," he told RTÉ Sport.

"I think it’s not one person who’s just going to step up and try and be a Johnny. He’s obviously a very unique character who did that very well and did it for a long period of time.

"I think it is more of an openness and willingness from everyone to give constructive feedback and to take it.

"Like with Johnny, even though sometimes it was delivered in an angry manner it comes from a good place and wanting you to get better and wanting the team to get better."

The absence of Sexton meant Garry Ringrose and James Ryan were appointed co-captains and Doris expressed confidence on the leadership group of the squad.

"It’s a bit of a shared effort for sure," he added.

"We’ve got our co-captains, Garry and James. They definitely lead by their actions but they are also great talkers and hit the nail on the head when a point needs to be made.

"You’ve got those two leading the charge and there’s quite a big group underneath them as well who are willing to share and are very experienced as well.

"The likes of Ross Byrne, Tadhg Furlong, Hugo Keenan, so there’s plenty of IP [intellectual property] and knowledge in the room and lads who are definitely willing and who are being pushed to step up and share the load."

Leinster are at the top of the United Rugby Championship table with four wins from five matches.