Johnny Sexton has a cruel new nickname at Racing Metro. Speaking on the Down the Blindside podcast, Sexton revealed that his Racing Metro teammates now call him 'Johnny Vacances' referring to his tendency to take significant breaks from playing with his club. Vacances means holidays in French, and originates from Jamie Roberts' injury woes last season.
Sexton was on 'Down the Blindside' speaking about a number of things, namely his concussions, life at Racing, being a father and Ireland's prospects for the year ahead.
He reiterated from the Paul Kimmage interview last Sunday that his concussion problems aren't as serious as was reported. He had no loss of consciousness and no sickness. The recommended standing down period of 12 weeks should now allow him to play without increased susceptibility for additional concussions.
He credits the Parisian specialist with his care, and acknowledges that it was frustrating to sit out for 12 weeks, it's good to see that the game is protecting its players with rules like this.
That does mean however, that Sexton has only played 6 games for Racing this season, after being injured on international duty and is set to return for Ireland in the middle of the Six Nations. Hence the humourous nickname. Sexton acknowledges that its better he gets slagged for the extended break and there is a definite guilt trip for the break when he feels he wasn't too bad.
Sexton thinks there is a lot more to come from Ireland, especially with the backs. He echoes Joe Schmidt's claims that Ireland didn't anticipate playing so restrictively in November, with various refereeing calls or several faulty set pieces going wrong foiling pre planned moves. All that means is that Ireland have more plays and moves up their sleeves for the next year, and emphasised the importance of gaining momentum going into the World Cup.
Sexton pays Italy the utmost respect, pointing to how difficult Ireland have found playing against them in Rome for the last four years, while highlighting the tight game from the last Six Nations with the score at 10 points to 7 just before an Ireland try seconds before halftime.
He was quick to point to the long build up that the French players will enjoy to the World Cup. At the moment the French clubs have all the power when it comes to their players, but with the World Cup at the start of the season, the national squad will be together for a lot longer and will undoubtedly have a better preparation than allowed at present.
Listen to the full interview and episode here
Photo Credit Pat Murphy/ Sportsfile