Racing sources leave Sexton's future shrouded in mystery
RUGBY:Jonny Sexton’s whereabouts next season remained shrouded in some mystery last night after sources very close to the Racing Metro hierarchy maintained that although they were impressed with the Leinster and Ireland outhalf, he would not be joining them next season, not least as he would be “too expensive”.
Paris-based sources of The Irish Times close to the Racing Metro president and benefactor, real estate magnate Jacky Lorenzetti, quoted him as saying Sexton “will not come to the club because he is too expensive. As a player he is very interesting and as a human being he looks very well balanced and a very good man, but he will not come”.
A second French source, also well connected to the hierarchy within Racing Metro, confirmed as much, and it is understood French sports daily L’Équipe will this morning also report that Sexton will not be joining the club.
Word having spread like bushfire from yesterday morning that Sexton was leaving Leinster to join Racing, the IRFU announced at lunchtime that the 27-year-old would not be renewing his contract with them from the end of this season.
Philip Browne, IRFU chief executive expressed his disappointment at this turn of events in wishing him well and forecasting that he would remain “a vital cog” for the Irish team.
“While we remained in the fight right up until the last possible moment to keep Johnny in Ireland with a very strong offer, ultimately, following negotiations with the player’s agent,” (Fintan Drury) “we had no option but to take the decision that it would not be in the best interest of Irish rugby to chase the reported financial incentives being offered.”
Ireland coach Declan Kidney said last night: “Everybody has to make decisions and I respect that. But Jonny would be a proud Irishman, Leinsterman and St Mary’s man and I don’t think that’s ever going to change,” and regarding Sexton’s future Test career, he added: “As long as he’s maintaining the standards he’s playing at I’d see him being able to develop even more as he’s just coming into his prime. I don’t think that should affect his international career.
“It will put a bit more pressure on him travelling and access to him and it will open the door for other fellas to showcase themselves too.”
Leinster coach Joe Schmidt spent three seasons with Clermont and commented: “The offer he has received is exceptional, even by French standards, but I know that it was still a tough decision for him.”