Sunday 17 December 2017

Leinster Chief urges IRFU to keep Sexton on home soil

LEINSTER coach Joe Schmidt believes out-half Jonathan Sexton needs to continue to play in Ireland for the good of Leinster and Irish rugby, writes Hugh Farrelly

Stade Francais are pursuing Sexton and have held talks with the 25-year-old's representatives with a view to securing a move to Paris after the World Cup next year. Stade coach Michael Cheika, who is understood to have already signed Munster utility back Paul Warwick on a three-year deal, is keen to recruit Sexton after bringing him through during his five years with Leinster.

Sexton (right) starred in Leinster's bonus-point defeat away to French champions Clermont last weekend and is a key figure in Saturday's return Heineken Cup clash in Lansdowne Road. Schmidt is anxious to keep Leinster's focus on Clermont next weekend, but said it is in Irish rugby's interest to keep their best players playing here and that it is something for the IRFU to deal with.

"I think the Leinster public, the Irish public, want Jonny Sexton to stay in Ireland and it's really an IRFU matter, he's on a national contract," said Schmidt yesterday.

"It's not something I'd do, but if Michael Cheika wants to sift through our players, there's not much I can do about it if he wants to ring them up. At the moment, Jonny's not thinking about it and neither am I, we're going to maybe sit down and have a chat next week, or when we get a better time, I think this week is probably not the best time to discuss it for either of us."

Irish Independent

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