IRELAND and Lions rugby hero Johnny Sexton has an extra reason to hope he gets selected for the November internationals – so he can have a proper visit home to catch up with family and friends.
While the newlywed is getting used to life in Paris with his new club Racing Metro, the self-confessed "homebird" admitted it was tough finding his feet at the start.
"I'm starting to settle in a bit better now, it was tough going at the start but we're starting to enjoy it. It's a great city to live in and to experience," he said.
Sexton, who wed childhood sweetheart Laura Priestly in July, was on a whistle-stop visit to Dublin yesterday to sign copies of his new book, 'Becoming a Lion', for hundreds of fans at Eason's in Dundrum and Dubray Books on Grafton Street.
"I haven't had a proper visit. I was home last week for a couple of days' training and then just today, which is a flying visit, so I'm not even getting the chance to catch up with anyone," he told the Irish Independent.
"Hopefully if I get picked for the November internationals I'll be home for four weeks so I'll get a chance to catch up with everyone then."
And with Paris just a short plane journey away, the fly-half won't have long to travel. "It's three-and-a-half hours door to door so it's just like living down the country," he laughed.
Among the fans who queued up to meet their idol at Dubray Books were Daragh (5) and Rory Walsh (4) from Templeogue in Dublin. They play mini-rugby at St Mary's, Sexton's old stomping ground.
Also there was Sophie Daly (9) from Artane, Dublin, a rugby fan since the age of four who staked out her place at the head of the queue hours earlier.
"We've been here two hours, but it's no bother," said patient dad Brian. "It's either this or One Direction so it's much better for me," he joked.