Expert View Liam Toland


I’ve very mixed emotions on hearing that Johnny Sexton will move on from Leinster next season but Paris, if that is indeed his destination, in the spring time; who wouldn’t yearn for that? Clearly I’m delighted for him and the opportunity he now faces.

It doesn’t come without its cost – leaving Dublin and Leinster must be a huge challenge, not to mention the very unforgiving regime he now enters. But with new coaches and the club’s huge budget it could be the start of a beautiful winning relationship. There’s no doubt Leinster are facing a rebuild over coming seasons whereas Racing are poised to power on into Europe.

I’m sure the recent IRFU policy on contracts as in the case of Luke Fitzgerald and others has focused him on the vulnerability of his profession. Clearly the IRFU couldn’t compete with French rugby and to an extent they may view this as a win-win solution.

Ireland continue to have him but at a fraction of the cost. So it’s Leinster who will suffer. It’s an opportunity for some new player – but with the pressure of success so high I’ll not be surprised if an import fills the shirt next year. Tough times are ahead for Leinster with his loss.

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