Sunday 15 December 2019

I could have earned more by staying with Racing Metro - Sexton

Johnny Sexton says he would like his son to see him playing for leinster. Photo: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images
Johnny Sexton says he would like his son to see him playing for leinster. Photo: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Johnny Sexton last night said he could have stayed in France and earned more money, but says the prospect of his baby son Luca seeing him wear the blue of Leinster was a major factor in his decision to move home.

The Ireland fly-half revealed that the agreement to return from Racing Metro at the end of this season had been reached some time ago, but said he could not announce it formally until he had spoken to all the relevant parties in Paris.

Now that the deal has been confirmed and news that he will be back at the RDS at the end of the season has been announced, he said he was putting his international career first by ending his stay in France.

Speaking in Paris on Thursday, Sexton explained how a combination of rugby and family factors had persuaded him to make the move, and he expanded on that point last night.

"I hope I've got a lot of years left, it's very much a rugby as well as family decision," he told Newstalk's Off the Ball.

"I could have taken another four-year contract in France, financially it would have been better but there are reasons to come home.

Missed

"I'd like my son to see me play for Leinster. There was a couple of times watching the lads where I missed it."

Sexton said he has no regrets over making the move to France last season, but admitted that the relentless schedule of the Top 14 had taken its toll on his body last season.

"I didn't feel in my best possible shape, especially in November, but I had a decent Six Nations and for my international career it was important.

"I made the decision (to go to France) that was right for me and I've had an incredible experience over the last 13, 14 months. When I look back on it, I'll be delighted that I did. At times, it was tough going and at other times I've loved it.

"I've learnt a lot, I've learnt after being in Leinster for so long - you're exposed to something different, a different way of playing in a different league and a different style. I've improved in some areas, maybe slipped back in others.

"We'll probably see next season, I hope I've become better. I've probably become more professional, you have to adopt recovery strategies and adapt a bit better."

Sexton is currently out with a broken jaw and revealed that he will not be able to eat solids for the next two weeks as a result of the injury, but he remains confident that he will make a recovery in time for the November internationals.

Irish Independent

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