Monday 20 May 2019

'It's not up to us to persuade him' - Johnny Sexton admits players in dark over Joe Schmidt's future plans

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Johnny Sexton says he and the rest of the Ireland players are in the dark about Joe Schmidt's decision on his future and are powerless to persuade the Ireland coach to stay on beyond next year's World Cup.

Schmidt is scheduled to announce his decision early next week, with fears growing within Irish rugby circles that he will choose to leave the role he took over in 2013.

Sexton was last night crowned the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year on the back of Ireland's most successful calendar year and fans will be hoping that the influential head coach remains on.

He will make the decision public at the end of the November internationals which conclude with the meeting with the United States on Saturday evening.

"It's not up to us to persuade him. We just go with the plan that he gives us and we leave him to do that," Sexton said. "Whatever he decides to do, if he decides to go, he's left an unbelievable mark on Irish rugby. If he decides to stay, he'll continue to do so.

Prestigious "He's got a lot of good young players coming through that he'll be able to build a new team with and so, look, we'll see. He hasn't given us any indication."

Having collected the prestigious Irish award last night, Sexton will be hoping to lift the World Player of the Year award on Sunday night at a ceremony in Monte Carlo.

"Awards are obviously very nice to win, you'd be lying if you said you're not happy after it but it's not something you set out to win because at the end of the day it is opinion," he said. "Like, not everyone will have chosen me for this award - that's opinion and the best thing about having success is that no-one can ever take that away from you.

"No-one can say, 'He didn't win that', I can say, 'Yes, I did win that trophy'. That's the best thing about winning, it's not opinion, it's fact.

"These are nice awards but they're not going to be unanimous decisions, whatever award it is. But look, I'm very privileged and honoured to receive it."

Irish Independent

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