Saturday 21 April 2018

IRFU insist Sexton was too expensive to keep

Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Toronto

THE IRFU has no regrets about Jonny Sexton's departure to Racing Metro despite facing criticism from the Lions out-half and calls from Leinster chief Mick Dawson to review the way contracts are dealt with.

In an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, one of the union's top decision-makers Martin O'Sullivan said there would be no formal review of the way contracts are handled and that he was happy with how the Sexton negotiations went.

The chairman of the Player Contracting Review Group and the National Team Review Group (NTRG) said the offers Sexton (pictured) had from elsewhere were out of the IRFU's league. "If you were to pay every player what he or his agent thinks they deserve, then you run out of that money pretty quickly," he said.

"If you pay one guy at a high level, then the next guy who comes in the door feels that he has an equal right to it. You have to draw the line at some point. We had negotiations for a number of months with Jonny's agent and we couldn't reach an agreement. He had offers on the table before he came to us and they were out of our league."

In his role as chairman of the NTRG, O'Sullivan played a role in the decisions not to renew Declan Kidney's contract and to hire Joe Schmidt. He revealed that the union contacted 15 coaches worldwide to discuss the job, sounding them out before whittling the list down to four.

And he said that Schmidt would be measured by the silverware he can deliver. "The type of expectations we have revolve around winning championships and Six Nations. To only win one Grand Slam in 61 years is not acceptable."

Irish Independent

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