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Rob Kearney: Johnny Sexton Was 'Upset' By IRFU Negotiations

Rob Kearney: Johnny Sexton Was 'Upset' By IRFU Negotiations
Donny Mahoney
By Donny Mahoney
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Awards Day at UCD

There are some pretty interesting words from Rob Kearney - whose contract with the IRFU is also up at the end of June - on the reasons why Johnny Sexton moved to Racing Metro.


Via the Irish Times today:

“Myself and Jonny have played a long time now,” explained Kearney. “We started off about 14, 15-years-old, two young schoolboys. So we’ve been very close and we have been talking about it. He was upset by the whole thing.

“There’s no point in lying about it. He was upset.

“I think Jonny will tell you that he probably wanted to stay. So it’s unfortunate that . . . Whatever way the negotiations went on I think he probably wanted to agree and stay and play his rugby in Ireland.

“But you can’t always get what you want.

“He’s getting married this summer, a lovely girl, so it’s a new start in life for him and I think he’s excited by that and I think he understands he has to jump head first into i

Two points:
1. Based on this, it's clear Sexton clearly bears some sort of grievance towards that the IRFU. He 'probably wanted to stay', they wouldn't meet his value and he called their bluff. The IRFU had also been paying for Sexton's services at a relative pittance and he, quite rightly, believed he'd earned his payday. But no joy.

2. Imagine being in Rob Kearney's shoes. A season off being the best player in Europe and the best fullback in the Europe. A contract to negotiate. Some injuries in the past six months, sure. But Sexton's move to Paris has incredibly bolstered his negotiating hand. Can the IRFU really allow two of the Lions XV walk? Shrewd interview.

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