Johnny Sexton signs contract extension with IRFU

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Johnny Sexton Signs Contract Extension With Irfu
Johnny Sexton is second in Ireland's list of all-time points scorers. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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By Ed Elliot, PA

Ireland and Leinster captain Johnny Sexton has signed a one-year contract extension with the Irish Rugby Football Union.

The new deal for the 35-year-old fly-half, who has been capped 97 times, will run until the end of the 2021-22 season.

He becomes the latest Ireland international to agree fresh terms following recent extensions for vice-captain James Ryan and lock Iain Henderson.

“I am really enjoying my rugby and I want to keep learning and adding value to both the Ireland and Leinster environments,” Sexton told the IRFU website.

“I am enjoying the challenge of captaincy and the added responsibility that it brings.

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“My appetite for success is the same as it ever was and the ambitions of both the Ireland and Leinster squads match my own.”

Sexton has been a key figure for Ireland for more than a decade following his international debut against Fiji in November 2009.

 

The 2018 World Player of the Year is second only to fly-half predecessor Ronan O’Gara in the list of all-time points for his country, having taken his total to 886 with two penalties and six conversions in Saturday’s 48-10 Guinness Six Nations win over Italy.

A two-time tourist with the British and Irish Lions, Sexton has won three Six Nations titles, including a Grand Slam in 2018, and four European Cups with Leinster.

He took on the Ireland captaincy from Rory Best following the 2019 World Cup and has spoken of his desire to play at the 2023 tournament in France, by which time he will be 38.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: “Johnny continues to show he has the quality and appetite to compete at the highest levels.

Ireland locks James Ryan, left, and Iain Henderson, right, have recently agreed new deals. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA

“He is playing an important leadership role with the Ireland squad and his insight and experience continues to be of great value to the group.”

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The IRFU last year refrained from entering into contract discussions with players due to financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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But that stance has since changed, with Sexton’s immediate future now secured after Leinster lock Ryan agreed a three-year deal early last month and fellow Ulster captain Henderson last week signed a two-year extension.

Ireland continue their Six Nations campaign on Sunday, March 14 against Scotland at Murrayfield, before completing their fixtures six days later at home to England.

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