Tuesday 20 March 2018

Sexton rules out summer return to Leinster

Jonathan Sexton, Ireland, on his way to scoring his second try against France
Jonathan Sexton, Ireland, on his way to scoring his second try against France
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Johnny Sexton has ruled out the prospect of an early return to Leinster at the end of this season.

Reports in the French media yesterday suggested the IRFU were entering into talks with Racing Metro about buying out the Dubliner's contract after just one year of a two-year deal.

However, Sexton poured cold water on the idea last night.

"There has been speculation about me leaving France a year early, but that's not going to happen," the fly-half told 2FM.

"I've said sometimes I absolutely love this place (Paris), there have been some difficult moments but it was always going to be the case.

"Me and Laura (his wife) are settled here now, we've a baby on the way and it'll be born in Paris hopefully. It's not something I got too hung up on, I've started to really enjoy it over here."

Meanwhile, Leinster remain "very hopeful" that loosehead prop Jack McGrath won't be ruled out of next week's meeting with Munster after suffering a collarbone injury in the closing stages of Saturday's game. Luke Fitzgerald trained yesterday and it is planned that he'll face Zebre on Friday after he missed the Six Nations.

And Easterby reckons the Ireland star will be one of the contenders to succeed Brian O'Driscoll in the Blue No 13 jersey next season as Leinster look to promote from within. While they have taken a look at the market, the fact that next year is a World Cup year means the quality is thin on the ground.

"The one thing that you would want to do, if you were going to replace him, is to bring in an absolute top-class player because we've got top-class players who can replace him," Easterby added.

"They may not be Brian O'Driscoll yet. But, there are people within the environment who, we believe, can replace him."

Easterby reckons Fitzgerald, Fergus McFadden and Brendan Macken will battle it out for the jersey.

"As it stands at the moment, I would imagine that one of those three are going to be there in the mix next season," he added.

Irish Independent

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