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I was so homesick I almost quit Pa ris, says Johnny

SACRE bleu! La vie Francais was not quite everything Johnny Sexton hoped.

The Ireland rugby ace has admitted that he and his wife Laura struggled with the French way of life.

The former Leinster outhalf said he regularly thought about pulling the plug on his time with Racing Metro as the side fell to the bottom of their Heineken Cup group.

And he told how the language barrier and the different lifestyle left him feeling stressed.

STRUGGLE

"Me and my wife really struggled with it at the start," Sexton said.

"It's pretty easy to settle into a club because everyone is doing their best to make you feel at home.

"But just the simple things (in France) like going to the shop and you don't know where it is, or getting petrol when you don't know how to ask for it – it was a stress and tough going."

The star returns to Ireland for the Six Nations campaign this weekend, but there are concerns about the amount of game time he has received in France and the hamstring injury he had been carrying.

But before then, the 28-year-old was so frustrated, he considered permanently leaving Paris to return to his Dublin home.

"There have been some games when I walk in on the Monday morning and I'm telling them, 'I'm going home' – that's how I've felt," the rugby player told BBC sport.

"There are other games where I've felt, 'This is the start of it, it's brilliant and I could be here for ever'.

ADVICE

"There's ups and downs along the way, and I suppose that you just have to make the most of it."

Sexton also revealed that some of his Ireland team-mates had asked him for advice about a possible move to France, but he admitted he was pleased to see the IRFU tie them down.

"I think it's great that they are staying," he said. The IRFU, fair play to them, they have really stepped up to the plate."

"I think it's important for Irish rugby that guys stay. I sound like a hypocrite, but that's the bottom line."

cmurphy@herald.ie


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