Sexton hopes to adapt quickly

2013-07-31 10:29
Jonathan Sexton (File)

Paris - Jonathan Sexton has spoken about his determination to pick up the French language following his move to Racing Metro in France's Top 14.

The Ireland fly-half is one of several big money moves from Britain and Ireland to the big-spending Parisians.

Alongside fellow British and Irish Lions Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate, Sexton has decided the time has come at 28 to try something new following three European titles, a Challenge Cup success and two Celtic League victories with Leinster.

But paramount to his smooth transition to Parisian life is the local language.

And he says his new coaches Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers, as well as his new teammates, are making sure he gets up to speed quickly.

"Both Laurents speak only French, which is good, which is how it should be. I am trying my best to speak French back and the other players are helping the guys that are only just new to translate at times," said the first choice number 10 on the recent Lions success in Australia.

"That is part of the challenge, that's how I want it. It is important that a French team speaks French and they have a lot of good French players here and that is also very important because, I suppose, that's what builds the spirit in the club."

Labit says Racing will do everything they can to help him settle, although he impressed the media at his first press conference in France Tuesday by answering a couple of questions in French, revealing he had started taking lessons four months ago before Lions duty got in the way.

"We're trying to make an effort in both directions," said Labit. "Jonny arrived with a few French words so we try to speak slowly and he manages to understand.

"He's been having two lessons a week and the training centre facilitates all that. He knows very well that's something he needs to learn because in his position he's a leader and obviously to be a leader you need to express yourself in a way that everyone can understand, and of course speak the same language."

He may be new to France but Sexton says he's had the opportunity to get the low down on the country from an old friend, with experience to boot.

Sexton grew up playing rugby in the same clubs as former lock Trevor Brennan, who went on to win two European Cups with Toulouse after leaving Leinster.

"I've watched (the Top 14) for many years, growing up I was friends with Trevor Brennan, a friend of the family," said Sexton.

"He came from the same club as me, both Bective and St Marys rugby clubs back in Ireland, so I always admired him and watched him playing for Toulouse and being successful there.

"So I've watched (Top 14) for many years and over the last few years I've watched it with more interest because coming here was something that I started to think about.

"It's obviously a very tough league with a lot of really good teams and it's a fight just to get into the top six (play-offs), so every game is difficult in its own way. That's what's so tough and good about it, it's pretty competitive and I'm sure every game is going to be really tough.

"I've played against a lot of French teams in the H-Cup (European Cup); I've played against Clermont and Toulouse a lot of times, Racing as well."

Now Racing will be hoping Sexton can quickly adapt to his new surroundings and help the fashionable Parisians take the next step and start delivering some silverware that has been lacking since 1990.

Read more on:    jonathan sexton  |  rugby

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