Kearney warns of French exodus

Date published: January 28 2013

Ireland full-back Rob Kearney feels Jonathan Sexton's move to France could see several team-mates joining him in the Top 14.

Ireland full-back Rob Kearney feels Jonathan Sexton's impending move to France could see several fellow internationals following him to the Top 14.

Sexton will leave Leinster at the end of the season after the Irish Rugby Football Union could not match an offer from a top French club, believed to be Racing Metro.

The Leinster pivot is set to join Racing after reportedly accepting a deal worth £640,000 per year.

And Kearney believes if Sexton does well in France several other Irish players might follow his lead.

“That's professional sport, it happens,” he said.

“In Ireland we've probably been lucky over the years in that it's only now that a player has left. It will test the waters obviously.

“It could go very badly for him, it's impossible to say. Guys always talk about leaving and threatening to look for new experiences.

“France is one of the new experiences that players will generally pinpoint in looking for a change.

“Jonny's shown a lot of bravery. If it works out really well for him in that he's enjoying life and playing good rugby while earning more money, people will see that and it will open up a whole new ball park.”

It was reported that Sexton was disappointed not to have been offered parity with Ireland's new skipper Jamie Heaslip.

“Jonny was upset by the whole thing, there's no point lying about it,” revealed Kearney.

“He will probably tell you that he wanted to stay.

“It's unfortunate that whatever way the negotiations went on, he probably wanted to stay and play his rugby in Ireland.

“But you can't always get what you want.”