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'France move not about the money, could improve Jonathan Sexton'

‘A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do’, says France-bound Jamie Roberts.

Image: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

SCOTLAND CAPTAIN KELLY Brown knows the tough decision currently facing Jonathan Sexton.

Jamie Roberts too.

Both men have taken steps to uproot themselves from familiar surrounds in favour of a new challenge, new scenery.

“You get certain players who really like being at home.” Says Brown, who joined Saracens from Glasgow in 2010.

“I think you have to look at each case as it is. All I know is I left Scotland for a fresh challenge, I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s improved me.

“I’m aware it doesn’t work for everyone,  but for someone like (Sexton) – I’ve met him, he seems a nice guy – and I think if he took on a challenge it would improve him.”

Roberts, who has announced he will leave Cardiff Blues at the end of the season (but will not yet reveal which club he will join) echoed Brown’s sentiment that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

The 26-year-old centre insists his own move is not all about the lure of the astronomical wages being offered in the Top 14. Instead, Roberts gives the impression of a man eager up sticks and change, rather than rest, after completing his medical degree.

Natural

“It wasn’t an easy decision, it was a very long process.” Roberts says. “To me it was  a break from old tradition and life in Cardiff where I had grown up, I’d spent all my life there, in school, and I signed when I was finishing my education – (now) I’m 26, haven’t settled down with a girlfriend yet. It’s just a natural time to try something different to fly the nest from Cardiff which I have been used to all my life.”

He added: “A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.”

With the recent narrative of Sexton’s mooted move to Racing Metro focusing almost exclusively on the finance involved, Roberts (linked with the same Paris club) underlined his point that money was not his sole guiding light in the choice.

“It frustrates  me when people say I’ve moved for the money. I’ve worked hard enough in my student life to ensure my financial security post rugby anyway, so I’m not moving to maximize my earnings from my rugby career.”

And as for the question of availability for his country; Roberts is up-to-the-minute proof that French clubs are willing to be flexible in order to get their man. A similar deal could ensure Ireland’s number 10 could earn his living beyond these shores.

“Wherever I’m going I have full playing and training release.” Roberts said forthrightly.

“That was a massive factor for me. I wouldn’t have moved without it. International rugby is still a massive thing for me and something I continually strive to achieve. I wouldn’t have moved without it. As any player in Wales I will be available for full training and playing if selected.”

7 things Jonny Sexton should know before considering a move to France

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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