It was two frustrating years for Johnny Sexton in Paris, but the Leinster outhalf says that he realised too late the impact it would have on his international prospects. Despite Ireland winning the two Six Nations with Sexton at the helm during his France sojourn - Sexton readily admits that his move to Racing Metro negatively effected his form for Schmidt's team.
The pain of flying back and forth from Ireland camp to Racing Metro during international windows was a big source of frustration for Sexton, and he thinks that the way the IRFU protects it's front liners means that any Irish player with international ambitions is better off staying put:
Players have a decision to make and I think if you want to be starting for Ireland week in, week out and being looked after in the Irish system then you need to stay here.
That said, for the likes of Ian Madigan or JJ Hanrahan - both talented players not first choice for either country or province - Sexton can't blame them for wanting to leave to get some much needed game time instead of gaining splinters from the bench.
The best place for an Irish international to be is at home and hopefully we retain most of those guys, hopefully all of them.
If only Sexton had this realisation two years ago, where would Leinster and Irish rugby be now? Would Matt O'Connor still be in charge? Would there still be as much doubt surrounding the likes of Conor Murray, Sean O'Brien, Simon Zebo, and Madigan who are out of contract at the end of the year.
It's interesting to see Johnny's mind change after two years of flying back and forth and countless euros in the bank.
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Picture credit: Fred Porcu / SPORTSFILE