Friday 21 July 2017

Ireland players risk losing out if they go abroad, warns Johnny Sexton

Johnny Sexton: 'The best place for an Irish international to be is at home'
Johnny Sexton: 'The best place for an Irish international to be is at home'
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Johnny Sexton has warned his Ireland colleagues contemplating a move abroad that they would be better served remaining at home.

The Leinster out-half, who has just returned from a two-year sojourn in Paris with Racing 92, says he realised too late that moving abroad would negatively affect his international career and concedes his performances in green suffered as a result of his move.

However, the 30-year-old accepted that some of his colleagues may feel the need to move abroad in order to achieve their own personal goals, but insisted that the likes of Conor Murray, Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien, who are first choice for club and country, would be better off staying put.

"Players have a decision to make and I think if you want to be starting for Ireland week in, week out and being looked after in the Irish system then you need to stay here," he said.

"But there's other guys who need to go and get game-time, they're not going to get that in their provinces and you wouldn't blame them for wanting to go abroad.

"The best place for an Irish international to be is at home and hopefully we retain most of those guys, hopefully all of them."

Meanwhile, Iain Henderson is a major doubt for the Six Nations after Ulster confirmed the star forward suffered a "significant hamstring tear" in Friday's win over Edinburgh. He will consult a surgeon and is facing a long spell out.

Irish Independent

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