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# French connection
IRFU won't let Sexton go without a fight, says Schmidt
Leinster coach Joe Schmidt says the IRFU will do everything in their power to agree a new contract with out-half Jonny Sexton.

JOE SCHMIDT WANTS Jonny Sexton to stay and spearhead Leinster’s next generation but admitted – “for a player of his quality there’s always going to be competition.”

With time running out on Sexton’s current contract, French side Racing Metro were linked this week with a reported €750,000 per year swoop to lure the out-half to the Top 14.

Now that Tommy Bowe is back at Ulster, a move would see Sexton become the highest-profile Irish international to break ranks and forge a club career outside the provincial structure, a blow the IRFU will be desperate to avoid.

Although he admits that the matter is largely out of his hands, Schmidt says those holding the purse-strings will do everything in their power to keep one of their most prized assets.

“The IRFU are working very hard and I know they’ll do a good job,” the Leinster coach said yesterday.

In the end they’ll put their best foot forward and Jonny will make a decision. He’s been a massive part of Leinster in the last four years particularly and we’d like him to be a massive part of Leinster for the next four years as well.

Sexton, 27, has been at the heart of Leinster’s recent success and played a key part in the province’s three Heineken Cup wins. The money on offer in France might be good but Schmidt is hopeful that his squad’s shared history and strong bonds will convince Sexton that there’s no place like home.

Schmidt added: “He’s part of a really good group here. I think he enjoys that and they enjoy the fact that he’s here.

“I think that will always be a factor in his decision-making but his decision-making is his own, I guess. For a player of his quality there’s always going to be competition to get him.”

Money isn’t the main concern for Jonny Sexton, insists Declan Kidney

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