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Thursday 31 July 2014

Racing run-in crucial to Sexton tour participation

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Published 19/03/2014|02:30

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Racing Metro's run-in will help determine if Jonathan Sexton goes on tour with Ireland to Argentina this summer
Racing Metro's run-in will help determine if Jonathan Sexton goes on tour with Ireland to Argentina this summer

HOW Racing Metro fare for the remainder of the season will help determine whether Johnny Sexton goes on tour to Argentina this summer, according to Joe Schmidt.

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There has been suggestion that the fly-half might be rested by the coach after his hectic season so far and the Lions tour last summer.

Schmidt met with Racing co-coach Laurent Labit over the weekend to discuss a better way of managing a player who was overplayed in the first half of the season.

However, with the Parisians out of Europe and not certain of a Top 14 play-off spot, the run-in could be kind to the player who suffered a concussion in Saturday's title decider against France.

"It forms some of the discussion I had with Laurent Labit," Schmidt said of the decision on whether the No 10 will go on the two-Test tour.

"Some of those decisions will be made later, but at this stage Racing are outside the play-offs for the Heineken Cup, so he won't be playing in those three European weekends and will have those three weekends off.

"They have effectively five Top 14 games left and there is a mass of teams at the moment in the middle of the table.

"If they make the top six they will have a (play-off) match. If they get through that they will play right through until the end.

"If not, Johnny may not have had that much rugby and it may be pertinent to bring him along."

Having lost Sexton back to his club for two weeks' training during the Six Nations campaign, Schmidt would like to have unfettered access to his star man for the duration of the tour to help develop his game plan after the successful Six Nations campaign.

However, he acknowledged the need to develop a back-up to the former Leinster star.

"One of the things that you want is to be growing the other No 10s, but at the same time No 10 is a pretty pivotal position for any team to have some sort of continuity," he said.

"That is one of those things that we will have a think about this week and then we will try to track. When we get to the end of the season, we can make the decision at that stage because we will know a little bit more about Johnny's condition."

Irish Independent

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