Saturday 3 December 2016

IRFU chief's coup will extend Jonny Sexton's career - Victor Costello

Published 26/08/2014 | 02:30

Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton

JONATHAN Sexton could see his career extended as a result of the extraordinary coup that will see the fans’ favourite return to Ireland from Racing Metro next summer, according to former Leinster and Ireland star Victor Costello.

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And Costello is not concerned that other players may also angle for similarly lengthy contracts in the future.

“If any player, whether they are Cian Healy or Rob Kearney, think they are deserving of such long-term security, and the IRFU know that they are integral to their financial and sporting well-being, then I don’t see a problem with that,” said Costello.

While Leinster and the IRFU refused to comment on yesterday’s exclusive Irish Independent story which French media have described as a “bombshell”, Costello says the IRFU and Leinster CEO Mick Dawson deserve credit for bringing Sexton home.

“There’s no protection for players over in France,” says Costello. “It’s a huge coup to get him back and it may now stop other players seeking to make a similar move.

“I think he made the original decision in anger, and the IRFU have been working to get him back the minute he had decided to leave.

“He will be able to be managed on a more coherent basis, something that wouldn’t have happened had he remained in France.

“At Leinster, there will be a clear sense of communication all the way along the line.

“His career would be shortened had he remained in France, I’m convinced of that.  The player protection is vital.

“And, for his own piece of mind, he’ll still be able to play in four years’ time, whereas that mightn’t have been the case had he stayed in France.

“He’s a highly motivated, hugely ambitious player. He demands so much from those around him. And that is what will be needed at Leinster now that Brian O’Driscoll has retired.”

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