Sunday 17 December 2017

Racing coy but Sexton switch a done deal


Jonny Sexton is still bound for Racing Metro in Paris next season despite reports yesterday that he would not be joining the French club.

Under the regulations of LNR, the clubs' body in France, officials are not allowed to confirm publicly any player or coach movement until April 15 in the preceding season.

It is understood that Jacky Lorenzetti, the Racing boss, will confirm the Sexton deal at that point, and to jump the gun would invoke a fine of €25k-50k, as well as a loss of league points, from the governing body.

Sources in Ireland and France have confirmed that heads of agreement have been signed on a two-year deal.

It is understood that the comments of the Racing president may be as much about keeping a lid on wage demands from other players in the club as having to shell €750k to secure Sexton's signature.

Because of the LNR regulation, Racing will not confirm either the transfers of Welsh internationals Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate, or the club's incoming coaches Laurent Travers and Laurent Labit, from Castres.

Coincidentally, the regulation was introduced in 2008 when Travers and Labit were leaving Montauban for Castres, and it was considered that Montauban's season was compromised by the news being confirmed midway through the campaign.

It is unclear as yet how Leinster will go about replacing Sexton.

When asked yesterday how the IRFU would react to Leinster seeking to buy a top quality, non Ireland-qualified player, a senior figure said: "You have to be reasonable about these things but (Ian) Madigan has potential and I'd like to see him get a consistent run there."

Leinster sources maintain that they were given the go-ahead by the union in October to shop overseas for a hooker and a prop – neither of which they wanted at the time. Sexton's departure changes that. Madigan has made five Heineken Cup starts over the past two seasons.

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