Johnny Sexton keeps IRFU waiting on decision over future
Leinster announce 21 contract renewals without releasing any details
As Leinster applied the finishing touches to their playing roster for next season without disclosing how long each player has signed for, Johnny Sexton will keep the IRFU waiting on any possible return to Ireland as he sizes up his opportunities in France.
Sexton has already been approached by his club Racing Metro to sign a longer deal with them but has told them to wait until the season is completed before he makes a decision on whether to extend his stay in France.
The Irish outhalf originally signed with the star-studded Parisian cast for two years and has almost completed one year. But even before the season has ended Racing have asked him to remain with them beyond his original deal.
This would rule out any plans the IRFU, who believe it would be better if he was based in Ireland, had of coaxing the outhalf back in the short term.
In an interview with Second Captains on irishtimes.com, Sexton said yesterday that his decision will be made in the summer and it will be based on his family needs and the considerations of a baby on the way. With Racing putting some pressure on him to begin discussions, the IRFU, if they are to match the conditions of the wealthy French club, will have to become involved in the bartering over the coming weeks and months.
Ronan O’Gara, the kicking coach at the club has agreed a further two-year stay in Paris, ruling out in the short term any move to the backroom in Munster with his former team-mate, and soon to be coach, Anthony Foley.
“They (Racing Metro) are keen to sort of get talking now and I just said let’s wait until the end of the season,” said Sexton. “It’s a family decision now. We’ve got a baby on the way, me and Laura and that will very much be lets see how that goes with having a kid here and not having grandparents and aunties and uncles look after it . . . we just have to see how that goes for the next few months. Then we’ll see what the options are.
“From a professional point of view things are still much better here. There’s still a long way to go and there’s still some frustration.
“Some days it’s great and you love it, the lifestyle and things but there are massive things you miss from home. There’s a lot of rugby to be played. The Argentina tour as well . . . when everything settles down in the summer I’ll start to think about it. It’s tough not to think about it though. It does occupy a lot of your time thinking about whether you’ll go home or whether you’ll stay. But I’ll wait to see what the options are.”