Sport Rugby

Sunday 19 November 2017

Schmidt fears Sexton switch could spark high-profile exodus to France

Jonathan Sexton in action for Racing Metro
Jonathan Sexton in action for Racing Metro
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is concerned about an exodus of Irish players
Conor George

Conor George

JONATHAN Sexton's move to Paris has re-energised French clubs' interest in Irish players, coach Joe Schmidt has acknowledged.

Speculation has been growing that a large number of Ireland's marquee players are being courted by wealthy French clubs in the wake of Racing Metro's successful capture of the Lions out-half, including Sean O'Brien, Conor Murray and Jamie Heaslip.

Schmidt is hopeful that this will not herald a mass departure of Ireland's players. "If they can be kept in the country that would be a massive advantage for us," he said.

"You are always worried by the precedent that is now out there following Jonny's move."

Schmidt also confirmed that negotiations with some Irish players are ongoing and admitted that watching Sexton play seven games in the last six weeks has been difficult, adding: "They (Racing Metro) are getting great value out of him!"

Irish Independent

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