Irish Rugby
Sexton reduced to tears by contract talks
ESPN Staff
September 23, 2013
Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton made the switch to French giants Racing Metro in the summer © Getty Images

Ireland fly-half Jonathan Sexton has revealed that he was reduced to tears by the Irish Rugby Football Union's approach to his contract talks earlier this year.

The former Leinster playmaker, a key figure in the British & Irish Lions' recent series victory over Australia, joined French giants Racing Metro this summer on a contract worth a reported €624,000 (£527,000) a year having turned down the offer of a new deal from the IRFU. Citing Sexton's forthcoming book, Becoming a Lion, the Irish Times reports that the union's attitude to negotiations angered Sexton and eventually led to him heading overseas.

Talking about the IRFU's initial offer in what was a long-running saga, Sexton writes: "I think I know what the Union think: Jonny will eventually settle for what we're offering him. He's going nowhere. That attitude pisses me off."

An improved offer was put to Sexton ahead of this year's Six Nations but it only served to irritate the player. "If they'd come to me with this offer last summer, I would have grabbed it. Why did they wait this long? Why insult me with the first offer and get negotiations off to a bad start?"

Racing Metro emerged as Sexton's likely destination the same month but the IRFU was offered another chance to secure his services. The union were not expected to match the riches on offer in France but were asked by Sexton's agent to "give us your best shot".

The newspaper reports that no new deal was tabled and according to Sexton the IRFU asked the player if he wanted to add anything to a statement relating to the contract negotiations that they were about to release.

Sexton, who at the time was in camp with the Ireland squad ahead of the Six Nations, broke down. "I told [them] that I wanted nothing to do with it. I went to my room, locked the door, lay on the bed and cried."

Sexton has since settled into life in the Top 14 where he has notched 70 points in seven league appearances for Racing who currently lie fifth in the table.

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