Wednesday 21 March 2018

Racing will always hold the aces in battle for Sexton's services

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton
Ireland's Jonathan Sexton
Jacky Lorenzetti
Vincent Hogan

Vincent Hogan

SO, you are Jacky Lorenzetti this week, sitting in the Foncia boardroom when your iPhone does a little vibrating dance across the mahogany table.

You pick it up and explode with involuntary laughter. The number on the screen is, as you expected, Irish.

You've been waiting for this moment and have every intention now of becoming the most elusive Frenchman since Philippe Sella was throwing elegant side-steps through opposing defences.

This day has been coming since you threw the kitchen sink into your bid to bring Johnny Sexton to Paris.

You succeeded, not simply through cash, but also through Sexton's growing sense that the Irish Rugby Football Union did not value him.

So you gave Johnny one of the most lucrative deals in world rugby. In doing so, you made him the property of Racing Metro, a player you are compelled to release only for international games.

Now the IRFU is fretting. They worry that the relentless Top 14 schedule may be taking take its toll on Ireland's leading fly-half. So they seek a favour.

Perhaps, mon frère, you could rest our precious 10 this weekend, allowing him stay in Dublin while you wrestle with Biarritz.

You don't need to take the call to anticipate the question, so you push your phone away. Soon after, a secretary comes to the door.

There is a landline call for Monsieur Lorenzetti. From Dublin.

Your spectacles slide down the bridge of your nose as you jackknife with laughter again. You are Jacky Lorenzetti and you love this game. You have a power now that no Union can ever credibly challenge.

The meeting resumes with you leaning back in your chair, a wicked smile lasered to your face. You like the Irish, but this is silly. Johnny will fly back to Paris on Thursday evening, non-negotiable.

The market is king in your world. Always will be.

Irish Independent

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