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Sexton On Brink Of Leinster Return

Jonathan Sexton is returning home

Jonathan Sexton is returning home

It still has the slightest whiff of rumour to it, given how few media outlets have covered it, but it would seem to be all but confirmed that Jonathan Sexton has agreed to return to his home province of Leinster once his Racing Metro contract expires next summer. What’s more, reports suggest he has been signed on a four year contract, an unprecedented move by Leinster and the IRFU and hopefully one that will set a template for the future.

The earliest indicators are that Sexton bypassed his agent Fintan Drury and headed straight to the source, hammering out this deal face to face with Mick Dawson (Leinster Rugby) and Michael Kearney (IRFU). If this is the case, Drury could find himself out of a job with at least one of his clients as this four year contract is a massive groundbreaker in Irish rugby. Until now, the IRFU have not seemed to be able to manage their players accordingly whatsoever, offering out three year deals at an absolute push, coupled with a laborious and needlessly drawn out negotiation structure which carries through the Christmas period and must surely be something Irish players dread. Four4 year deals could find players only having to go through this ordeal twice, three times at worst, in their entire career, smoothing the process up entirely.

A big question here will be; how can they afford him all of a sudden? Well, let’s not forget that Ireland did of course win the Six Nations this year which, aside from the accolade and silverware, comes with a sizeable amount of cash towards said nation’s organisation. The IRFU one would imagine, had hardly budgeted for a 1st place finish either given the year before’s result and a new coach usually needing some time to gel. One would imagine that this cash injection, coupled with some other players departing from the Irish system over the year, was key in this deal. Let us not forget the performances Sexton churned out over the Six Nations too of course, scoring several tries and in general proving to be instrumental in the tough wins, as he always is.

This is great news for Leinster, and Ireland, though Ian Madigan may be a little put out. That aside however, we will now have Europe’s greatest out half back on home soil a few months ahead of the World Cup, though arguably still not as early as we would like, and he is only returning back with double the knowledge he had when he left having done his time abroad. Now if someone could just convince Isa Nacewa for one more year…

Image courtesy of irishtimes.com

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