JONATHAN SEXTON has admitted that his loyalty to Leinster has been called into question as a result of the ongoing delay in concluding contract negotiations with the IRFU.
Sexton is still only on a provincial contract– thought to be worth in the region of €100,000-a-year – and is one of the poorest paid internationals in Declan Kidney’s Six Nations squad to be announced later today.
As a result, he has attracted the interest of his former Leinster coach Michael Cheika, currently in charge at French club Stade Francais, with whom his agent has had talks.
But, Sexton is keen to remain in Ireland beyond the World Cup, but there has been no sign that a satisfactory deal has been concluded between the IRFU and the player’s representatives.
“Obviously. It’s my future,” said Sexton yesterday. “Ask any rugby player and they say it’s something they don’t enjoy doing. I’d like it to be sorted, but it’s not and I’ve become used to dealing with it at this stage. What can I do? All I can do is leave it to guys I trust to do it for me. I trust them 100pc to do what’s right. They give me good advice and my family give me good advice as well.
“I don’t really want to go into detail about it too much. I just hope it gets sorted.The only frustrating thing I can talk about is that I play for Leinster and when selected I then play for Ireland.
“The majority of the time I play with Leinster. But I don’t negotiate with them, it’s got nothing to do with them. So, it’s me and the IRFU who decide whether I play for Leinster. That’s the frustrating thing.
“Your loyalty to Leinster comes into a bit… gets called into question, which is frustrating. I’ve spent enough time thinking about it now to last a lifetime.”
Sexton may be stewing over his options, but five of his teammates were yesterday celebrating new deals with Leinster. Shane Jennings and Sean O’Brien have committed to the province for three years, while Fergus McFadden, Devin Toner and prop Jack McGrath have put pen to paper for two years.
Meanwhile, Munster could be about to lose one of their brightest stars with promising lock forward Ian Nagle (22) currently being pursued by English Premiership side Northampton Saints.