Johnny Sexton has option of third year at Racing Metro

Former Leinster outhalf is hopeful contract talks will be wrapped up soon

Jonathan Sexton at yesterday’s press briefing in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Jonathan Sexton at yesterday’s press briefing in Buenos Aires. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Wed, Jun 4, 2014, 01:00

Jonathan Sexton said that a deadline has not been set on contract talks with Racing Metro 92, but he is hopeful the process is wrapped up before too long. The 28-year old, who guided Racing to the Top 14 semi-finals in his first season in Paris, confirmed yesterday that there is an option of a third year on his existing contract.

He and his wife Laura are expecting their first baby in the next few weeks – the couple have decided to remain in Paris for the birth – and Sexton said all of this would be taken into account when deciding on his future. “There’s no deadline really, I think it started slowly already so we’ll see,” adding that he expects it to be well wrapped before Christmas.

“There’s a lot to consider, with the baby due and we’ll see how we cope in Paris by ourselves with that so that will be a factor and see how happy Laura is with the baby when I’m gone six days a week so it’s a lot to consider.

“Ideally as a player you would want to get things sorted out as soon as possible because rugby players deal in one- and two-year contracts. You like to get things sorted out as quick as possible and the nature of the game with injuries and guys having to retire on the back of one injury, so you want to look after your future and your family.

“Like I said, sooner the better but it’s hard to make a decision because if you’re asked to make a decision before the start of next season you don’t know what happens if you make a decision, and then things go amazing for the first three, four months and then you regret it so there’s not a day that goes by you don’t think about it at some capacity about the opportunity of coming home, so there’s the other, Leinster won the Rabo so the need of coming back mightn’t be as big now,” he said.

Sexton said he is feeling very fresh despite having such a short break after the Lions last summer before he headed to France, and he never considered not travelling to Argentina for the two-match tour.

‘Mad keen’

“I was mad keen to come, I had a brief conversation with Joe about how I was feeling. Since Christmas I had a week off before the Six Nations because we had a week off before our Heineken Cup campaign was over so I got away then.

“I was injured for one game during the Six Nations so I had a week off then and I had two weeks off after the Six Nations so I had, like, loads of time off, loads of holidays.

“I feel real fresh, fresher then I have in years gone by on summer tours. I suppose that’s not always a good thing because you have not played as many knockout games as you would have liked.

“Over the last few years when I was involved with Leinster we were involved in two competitions right to the very end, I’ve played in six finals over the three years so maybe that’s while I feel fresher. Not all good from that point of view but I’m fresh for this one, mad keen for it,” he added.

He is pleased with the way his first season in France has gone but feels both he and Racing Metro can push on next year, but he has enjoyed working with his old rival Ronan O’Gara and is already looking forward to the new season.

“The coaches said it to me, and he (O’Gara) said it to me, that you’ve got to be really proud of your first year. It meant a lot coming from them. And all the other players as well were congratulating me.

‘Best rugby’

Whereas, like I said before, the standards that you set for yourself, you want to be playing your best rugby and you want to be winning trophies. I suppose that’s where we’re different I suppose.

“Some people might have viewed the semi-final as a success to get there because of the start but for me a success would have been to win the Top 14.”

Sexton was delighted to see Leinster retain the Pro12 title last weekend and it didn’t cause any pangs of regret about moving. “I don’t think so because my decision was made, it was made 12 months ago and I don’t want to keep going on about it because it is history. “

He hasn’t spoken to Brian O’Driscoll about his plans following retirement but reckons he will be successful in his new role with Newstalk.

“He was captain of Ireland you can’t do that job if you are not switched on and you don’t know the game because he has got big decisions to make, he has to know the mood of the group etc. I’m sure he will be good at it and I look to forward to seeing how he gets on.”

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