Sexton's France move may spell Irish exodus
Friday 25 January 2013
Having picked off the best of Welsh talent, there was the first sign today that French clubs would turn their attentions to the Irish, with the news that fly-half Jonathan Sexton is poised to join Racing Métro after the Irish Rugby Football Union confirmed he would leave Leinster at the end of the season.
Sexton has signed a contract described by Leinster coach Joe Schmidt as "exceptional, even by French standards". The deal is thought to be worth £640,000 per year over two seasons.
The 27-year-old has won 34 caps and is clear favourite to be the Lions' Test fly-half during their summer tour to Australia.
"We are very disappointed – as we know the Irish rugby public will be – that Johnny will not be playing his rugby full-time in Ireland from next season," the IRFU's chief executive, Philip Browne, said. "Jonny is a major talent and his full-time presence in Ireland will be missed, particularly by Leinster."
Sexton is the first regular Ireland international to have accepted the riches on offer in France.
It means Ireland will have less control over the jewel in their crown and the IRFU admitted the sums involved forced them to withdraw from negotiations, stressing the money would be better spent elsewhere.
"We remained in the fight right up until the last possible moment to keep Jonny in Ireland with a very strong offer," Browne said. "But ultimately, following negotiations with the player's agent, we had no option but to take the decision that it wouldn't be in the best interest of Irish rugby to chase the reported financial incentives being offered."
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food