Saturday 20 January 2018

Sexton using Racing as pawn in IRFU negotiations – Lorenzetti

David Kelly

David Kelly

RACING Metro owner Jacky Lorenzetti has poured scorn on the potential transfer of Jonny Sexton from Leinster, claiming that Irish players are guilty of "blowing their own trumpet" during contract negotiations.

And Lorenzetti has revealed that there is now just a "tiny" chance of Sexton agreeing a move to the wealthy French giants, who purportedly offered an annual salary of €750,000 – at least double his current IRFU deal.

The IRFU are already believed to have offered Sexton (pictured) a belated new contract worth between €450-500,000 per annum but they may now relent if Lorenzetti's comments truly represent his club's position.

Even if Racing reignite their interest now, however, it is clear that they will not succumb to anything like the originally reported offer and, as Irish coach Declan Kidney unwittingly averred yesterday, the decision at this stage will ultimately not be about the money.

"There's always going to be some story about something," said Kidney.

"I'd much prefer a story about a contract negotiation than a plethora of injuries so I think he'll deal with it, and the sooner for everybody that it can be brought to a conclusion the better, because you don't like things like that.

"I've yet to meet an Irish player who has actually made his decision based on money. He's made it on how he's looked after and his affinity to the team.

"Our fellas' pride in their provinces is only matched by their pride in their Irish jersey. When our lads make decisions about moving abroad they don't make them lightly; I've yet to meet one who has made it purely on finance.

"There are negotiations going on and I'd imagine that they'll be drawing to a conclusion fairly soon. I wouldn't like to pre-empt these things, you have to let the negotiations carry on."

Lorenzetti, the enigmatic Racing Metro owner who will be in Thomond Park on Sunday to see his side tackle Munster in the Heineken Cup, echoed the feelings of many French sides when he elaborated on the negotiation tactics of some Irish players in recent years.

"The Irish are the Irish," he said. "They're very attached to their homeland. They often have a strategy of blowing their own trumpet and using other clubs, notably the French, who are renowned for paying well, to raise the stakes, up the bidding and better negotiate their contracts in Ireland.

"If I have helped Sexton to better negotiate his contract, then why not? The chances of Sexton coming to France are tiny and to Racing even more so."

Sexton's Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has dismissed suggestions that his own uncertain future at the club would have any part to play in the player's decision.

"I don't know about that," said Schmidt, who is widely expected to return to his New Zealand home in 2014 when his contract expires.

"I'm sure they'd be happy to see the back of me barking at them all the time. Jonny's part of a really good group here and they enjoy that and the fact that he's here."

Irish Independent

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