Jonathan Sexton to be second-highest paid player in French Top 14
Irish outhalf, who makes his competitive debut against Brive on Saturday, admitted to Racing Metro manager Simon Raiwalui that he was feeling some pre-match nerves before Harlequins’ game
Racing Metro’s kicking coach Ronan O’Gara with Jonathan Sexton during their friendly game against Harlequins in Switzerland. Photograph: Harold Cunningham/Inpho.
It has been reported that Racing Metro’s Jonathan Sexton will be the second-highest paid player in the French Top 14 this season.
French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique had suggested last season that the Irish international would top the earnings list after Toulon outhalf Jonny Wilkinson accepted a pay cut to stay in France for another season.
But Le Journal du Dimanche suggests that the English World Cup winner will still earn €56,000 per month because half of his salary is linked to royalty payments from the sale of club products that use his name.
Sexton will earn €52,000 per month, according to the JDD, followed by new Toulon signing Bryan Habana (€50,000) and Clermont scrumhalf Morgan Parra (€46,000), who is the highest-paid French player.
A salary cap of €10 million will be strictly enforced this season, with the average, pre-tax wage of €14,300-per-month expected to drop for the first time since rugby went professional.
‘Payrolls of clubs’
“If we allow too much of a gap between the payrolls of clubs, the Top 14 will lose its interest,” the league president, Paul Goze, told Le Journal du Dimanche.
“Rugby isn’t football. Two teams of very different abilities can’t provide an interesting match.”
Sexton has admitted to feeling “stressed” ahead of his first appearance for Racing since leaving Leinster.
The Irish outhalf played the first half of Racing’s 40-28 win over Harlequins in Switzerland, setting up the first try and converting both of the French side’s scores in the opening period.
But the 28-year-old, who makes his competitive debut against Brive on Saturday, admitted to Racing manager Simon Raiwalui that he was feeling some pre-match nerves.
“Before the match I was very stressed, even if I knew it was a pre-season game,” Sexton told the club’s official website.
“I was on the bus and Simon asked me how I was . . . I told him I was nervous. He said to me ‘you played with the Lions five weeks ago – how can you be nervous for a friendly match?’
“It’s just that it’s very different . . . I played for Leinster for 10 years. It’s a huge challenge for me to be here. I also have to prove to the other players – especially to the French players – that I’m really proud to play for this team.”
Sexton also revealed that, as well as goldfish, some of Racing’s new signings had to look after rabbits as part of their initiation process last week.
But while he says he found it difficult to get used to new coaching instructions and team plays against Harlequins, the three-time European Cup winner is satisfied with how he has settled in.
“It’s obviously going to take time for us to get used to each other. I have to get used to playing with them, and they have to do the same thing with me. But I think it’s a good start.”