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'Living in Dublin and coaching Leinster, that's an ideal situation' - Sexton

The Ireland out-half is considering life after his playing career ends.

AT THE AGE of 31, Johnny Sexton is naturally thinking about life after his playing career ends, and the prospect of being in charge of Leinster one day is what he terms the “ideal situation” if he opts to pursue coaching as his next line of work.

It would be fascinating to see the out-half’s great tactical mind transfer into the realm of coaching and any such position for Sexton would throw up a few interesting head to heads.

Ronan O’Gara’s Munster against Sexton’s Leinster team, anyone? That would certainly be fun.

Joe Schmidt and Jonathan Sexton Sexton is Joe Schmidt's on-field tactical leader. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Planning for life post-retirement is an important reality for every pro rugby player now, particularly given that one injury can end a career. In a brutally physical job, having a back-up plan is crucial.

Rugby Players Ireland, formerly known as IRUPA, are central to the process of players arming themselves with possibilities and prospects post-rugby, and Sexton has always been a major advocate for the organisation and is currently part of the Executive Board.

While his contract with the IRFU extends into November 2019 and the out-half has previously spoken about playing on beyond that point, he has invested time and energy into considering his life after playing.

“I’ve got a degree in BCom [a Bachelor of Commerce in UCD], I got that a few years ago,” says the Leinster man.

I obviously learned French when I was away [with Racing 92], so I’ll try to do something over the next couple of years along those two sides and make sure that whenever the day comes I’m able to use the skills I got there and from rugby.

“Coaching is obviously a possibility. I’ve got my Level 1 coaching badge, I’ve got a couple more levels to go. if you want to coach in France, you’ve got other levels you have to do over there. It’s something that I could look into.”

That Sexton is already making his way through his coaching levels is a clear indicator that he is serious about the prospect, while his openness to the possibility of moving abroad is a signal of ambition.

Racing 92 assistant coach O’Gara has done exactly that, following the lead of the likes of Jeremy Davidson, Bernard Jackman, Mike Prendergast and others in searching out professional coaching opportunities in France.

Andrew Trimble and Jonathan Sexton Sexton with Andrew Trimble at yesterday's Rugby Players Ireland launch. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Sexton’s overriding ambition in coaching at present is to lead his native province, Leinster, but he’s realistic enough to see that the opening may not be there in the way that it was for Leo Cullen.

“When you think about coaching, you think about living in Dublin and coaching Leinster and all that,” says Sexton. “That’s an ideal situation, but only one person can do that.

“Leo obviously did that straight out of being a player, but the other side is that you’ve got to go travelling, you’ve got to work your way up. If you’ve got a young family, taking them away and all that, there’s a lot to consider.

“But it is an area that would appeal to me I think. I’ll try to give myself that option if I wanted to do that.”

It’s very much one for the future, of course, but Sexton would appear to be ideally suited to a move into the coaching world after his playing days end.

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Murray Kinsella

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