Saturday 21 October 2017

Video: I hope lessons have been learned from the Jonny Sexton saga - Rob Kearney

Leinster and Ireland star Rob Kearney is hoping that the fact that Jonny Sexton has been offered a four-year contract by the IRFU means lessons have been learned from the prolonged saga that saw him join Racing Metro last year.

One-year extensions and two-year deals are the norms but the Leinster full-back is hopeful that if Jonny accepts the offer it will revolutionise how contract deals are negotiated.

"I’m sort of hoping that everyone has learned their lesson over the Jonny saga," he said at the announcement of a new sponsorship deal between Leinster and Bank of Ireland which will see them stay on until at least June 2019.

"The process becomes easier now and they realise that there’s no point in waiting till December and January and get the offers in early and get guys signed up.

"It hasn’t benefited either side from going abroad and I’m hoping that there is a fresh new approach to the whole system.

"With your top players that are going to be sought after by big money teams in France and a few of them coming from England, why not sign them up for three or four years. You’ve got that security of knowing that your best players are going to be in the country.

"You won’t have to worry French teams coming for players. I think where applicable, longer term contracts are better."

Sean O'Brien rejected advances from Toulon last year to remain at Leinster, signing a new two-year deal but admits that his situation is much more different than Sexton's.

"I had no ties and nothing to keep me here but with him, he has a family and a new child to think about than I had," the Tullow Tank said.

"In terms of the rugby side of things, Sexto is so strong-minded that he knows exactly what he wants.

"I reckon he’ll have his mind made up very quickly.

"It’s not a nice place to be as a player either, you’re talking about your future and what’s best for you.

"I think he’ll have thought about it long before now and weighed up the pros and cons. Knowing Jonny he’ll make the right decision and hopefully it’s the right one for Leinster."

Leinster captain Jamie Heaslip said that Sexton is fully aware of what is waiting for him at Leinster but doesn't envy the choice the outhalf has in front of him.

"In terms of coming back, he knows exactly what’s here, he’s been in our changing room many times, I’ve shared many highs and a lot of lows with Jonny in a Leinster changing room," Heaslip said.

"Some of his best mates are in the Leinster changing room.

"He’s a great player and orchestrator. He drives standards and is an unbelievable competitor.

"It would be great to have him but he has a lot of balls in the air, he just got married when he left and now he’s coming back with a kid.

"He’s been back a couple of time showing his new thing off, this new person he made. He’s in good spirits.

"There are a lot of pluses for playing over there and a lot of pluses playing here. It would be great to have him.

"Jonny keeps his cards close to his chest.

"There’s all sorts of things in the air and he’s a family man now. I’m sure it’s not a good decision for him and it’s on his shoulder but whatever team gets him it would be really lucky to get a player of his standard."

Leinster CEO Mick Dawdon said that he expects a decision from Sexton in the "next week or two."

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