Rugby

French nightmare for Sexton

2014-01-29 17:01
Jonathan Sexton (AFP)

London - Ireland flyhalf Jonathan Sexton has revealed he felt like quitting French club Racing Metro after struggling to adjust to life in Paris following a high-profile move.

The former Leinster star became the first major Ireland player of his generation to pursue a club career in the Top 14, with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) largely successful in persuading Sexton's team-mates to stay with their home provinces.

And Sexton, who admitted he sounded like a "hypocrite", welcomed the recent confirmation that the likes of Ireland captain Paul O'Connell and back-row Jamie Heaslip had spurned big money moves to France.

"There have been some games where I thought, 'I'm walking in on Monday and telling them (Racing) I'm going home'," Sexton told the BBC in an interview to be broadcast in full on Sunday, shortly before he is expected to start in Ireland's Six Nations opener against Scotland in Dublin.

"Then there's other games where I've come off thinking 'right, this is the start of it, that's brilliant, and you could be here forever'," added Sexton, a key figure in the British and Irish Lions 2-1 series win in Australia last year.

"That's the same with everything, there's ups and downs along the way."

Sexton's Lions colleague Leigh Halfpenny is set to join him in France next season after agreeing a move to big-spending European champions Toulon.

But Sexton warned the fullback, who will be one of several Wales internationals in the Top 14, that adjusting to rugby would be the least of his problems.

"Me and my wife probably struggled with it at the start," Sexton explained.

"It's pretty easy to settle into the club because everyone's doing their best to make you feel at home.

"But the more simple things, like going round to the shop, you don't know where it is, going to get petrol - you don't where that is, things like that.

"Everything's just a stress, so it was tough going at the start."

As for his Ireland colleagues who'd opted to continue playing provincial rugby, Sexton said: "I think it's great that they're staying, the IRFU, fair play to them, they've really stepped up to the plate.

"I think it's important for Irish rugby that guys stay.

"I sound like a hypocrite, but that's the bottom line."

Read more on:    racing metro  |  jonathan sexton  |  rugby
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