Johnny Sexton in trouble for abusing referee Jaco Peyper after Champions Cup final

Johnny Sexton in trouble for abusing referee Jaco Peyper after Champions Cup final

Johnny Sexton's preparations for the upcoming Rugby World Cup could be hampered after he received a misconduct letter from European Professional Club Rugby.

According to City AM, the Ireland captain has been accused of three counts of misconduct after he confronted the match officials following Leinster's 27-26 defeat to La Rochelle in the Champions Cup final.

Immediately following the loss, it was reported that Sexton went up to referee Jaco Peyper and uttered the words, "You are a F****** disgrace" before walking away.

Peyper and his two assistants, Christophe Ridley and Karl Dickson, were asked to give witness statements and it is understood that at least one of them described the 37-year-old's actions as 'intimidating'.

A lengthy ban would threaten his World Cup hopes, but it is unlikely that he will be suspended for the whole tournament.

Instead, Sexton's preparations for the competition could be put at risk, with him potentially missing some warm-up matches.

That would still be damaging for the playmaker and Ireland, leaving their star fly-half with little game time ahead of the global tournament.

The pivot has not played since March after suffering a groin injury in the national team's Grand Slam triumph over England.

He missed the rest of Leinster's season as they once again failed to win a trophy, going down to Munster in the United Rugby Championship and La Rochelle in the Champions Cup.

Sexton has already played his final game for the province and the stand-off is due to retire following the conclusion of the World Cup.

EPCR could follow the example set earlier in the campaign when Pau coach Sebastien Piqueronies was handed a 10-week ban.

Piqueronies' suspension came after he pleaded guilty to grabbing Scottish referee Sam Grove-White after a Challenge Cup clash.

The Ireland man's alleged offence was verbal rather than physical, so that may help his case, but if found guilty some sort of ban will be forthcoming.