Johnny Sexton has said he admires JJ Hanrahan's decision to to make the leap into the unknown and join Northampton. The Ireland and Racing Metro out-half was speaking to Off The Ball on Friday evening when he was asked whether he sees comparisons between Hanrahan's situation at Munster and his own situation during his early days at Leinster where he was back-up to Felipe Contepomi.
"I would have thought about it a lot. When you’re that age, you’re impatient," said Sexton who also confirmed that he would miss Ireland's opening Six Nations game with Italy due to an enforced lay-off as a result of concussion.
Sexton went on to detail how his situation as back-up to Contepomi is quite similar to that which Hanrahan has faced over the past couple of years.
JJ would see players of his age breaking in, when I was at Leinster I had the same situation when I had to watch Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald and these guys break into the first team and off they went playing for Ireland and I was still trying to fight my way in just to be involved in some Celtic League at the time.
JJ obviously found himself in that situation where he feels he is good enough to play at 10 for Munster and he’s not getting enough game time in his eyes, he’s just decided that it is best for his career to go and try and get game time somewhere else.
You have to admire that, I do anyway. He’s taking on a big challenge, going over to a very good team with a very good out half and he’s going to try and displace him over there. Good luck to him.
Sexton admitted that it wasn't an ideal situation for Irish rugby to see our best young players leave the country but that it was a situation which he hopes Hanrahan can make the best of.
You can listen to the full interview, including an interesting discussion about Sexton's concussion enforced lay-off here: