Sunday 17 December 2017

Jonny Sexton slams 'money' jibes about move to Racing Metro

Former Leinster out-half insists French switch not about cash

Ruaidhri O'Connor in Paris

JONNY SEXTON has been in Paris for less than a week, but already he is talking about remaining on beyond his initial two-year deal.

The Ireland and Lions out-half was presented to the media for the first time as a Racing Metro player at the club's training complex on the southern outskirts of the French capital after taking part in an open training session under the supervision of skills and kicking coach Ronan O'Gara.

Sexton is reportedly France's best-paid player, but he appeared on the front page of 'Le Parisien' yesterday with the headline reading: "I'm not just here for the money."

He bristled when asked about his reported €700,000 salary at a press conference, insisting it will not bring additional pressure on his game.

And he said he was so impressed by what Racing had to offer that he would consider staying beyond 2015, news which will come as a shock to Leinster fans hoping for his return after a brief sojourn.

"I have a two-year contract with an option of another year. It is early days, but you could see yourself staying. You could see yourself staying forever," he said.

Racing Metro's new signing Jonathan Sexton during a press conference. Photo: Sportsfile
Racing Metro's new signing Jonathan Sexton during a press conference. Photo: Sportsfile
30 July 2013; Racing Metro's new signing Jonathan Sexton, left, with head coach Laurent Labit. Photo: Sportsfile
Racing Metro's Jonathan Sexton, right, and kicking coach Ronan O'Gara during squad training. Photo: Sportsfile
Racing Metro's Jonathan Sexton in action during squad training. Photo: Sportsfile

"It depends on a lot of things, it depends on how my wife settles, a lot depends on that. I already feel like I've settled in well. It is too early to say; I hope to be successful here; I hope the club will be happy with me. It is two ways, you know? It's not only down to me. It is down to the club as well and if they want me to stay longer after two years."

"Hopefully, it will be a successful time and then we can make that decision but for the moment I am just focussing on next week, tomorrow."

Sexton says that his short break from the game since returning from the Lions tour won't affect him as he prepares to kick off the season. He is unlikely to play for Racing this weekend in Toulon, but is expected to make his debut in the pre-season clash with Harlequins in Geneva, ahead of the Top 14 kick-off on August 17 against Brive.

"Normally it might be (a worry)," he admitted. "But the fact that I was injured for nine or 10 weeks around the end of March was a blessing; well it mightn't have been at the time but it is now. It was a blessing for the Lions and for Leinster at the end of last season, because I was fresh.

"In many ways that was a long holiday. Even though I would have been in getting fit, there is a difference when you're not playing games, so I feel fresh enough now and hopefully I'll play a part in one of the next two games."


Sexton speaks at press conference in Paris

Irish Independent

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