Kidney: Sexton not motivated by money

Ireland coach Declan Kidney is confident fly-half Jonathan Sexton will not be lured to France's Top 14 by money.

Sexton is reportedly the subject of a €750,000-a-year offer from Racing Metro.

On Sunday, he met with the French side's chairman Jacky Lorenzetti to discuss the possibility of a switch from Leinster.

Kidney, who named Sexton in a 39-man training group for the upcoming RBS 6 Nations campaign, is hopeful that the Irish Rugby Football Union can renegotiate a deal to keep one of the country's stars at home.

Asked if a Sexton move to France would spark an exodus of leading Irish talent, Kidney suggested that the player is likely to put the best interests of his club and country first.

"I don't think anything that Jonny would do would be selfish or lead to a thing like that," he said.

"He just has to do the right things. Whoever came out with the story publicly, I don't think the IRFU or Jonny had any interest in it going like that."

He added: "I've yet to meet an Irish player who has actually made his decision based on money. He's made it on how he's looked after (and) his affinity to the team.

"Our fellas' pride in their provinces is only matched by their pride in their Irish jersey. When our lads make decisions about moving abroad they don't make them lightly and I've yet to meet one who has made it purely on finance."

Asked about Sexton's talks with the IRFU, Kidney said: "There are negotiations going on and I'd imagine that they'll be drawing to a conclusion fairly soon. I wouldn't like to pre-empt these things, you have to let the negotiations carry on.

"It's a profession. Fellas have to look after themselves and I know the union will do everything to keep him but because it's a professional situation, there's only so much money there.

"Hopefully everyone involved will make the right decisions to keep Jonny in Ireland."

Sexton is 27 years old but only made his Ireland debut in November 2009, not long after he became the first-choice 10 at Leinster.

He is one of the top earners since gaining an international contract with the IRFU but the offer from Racing Metro would dwarf any annual package the IRFU could offer.

Ireland players based overseas such as Tom Hayes (Exeter) or Ryan Caldwell (Bath) are subject to restrictions on call-ups and time off allowed for training camps. and Kidney added: "That would obviously affect (Sexton).

"Tom and Ryan are not available to us next week. We had get-togethers in August and September, then we were in for a camp in November. Anybody who moves abroad, that prohibits their involvement in that.

"That's a double-edged sword because it opens the door for somebody else. The player has to think about that as well. Players are very cognisant of that."

Looking ahead to Ireland's Six Nations opener against Wales, Kidney believes the Welsh will benefit from their region's poor showings in the Heineken Cup this season.

He said: "The emotional tax on the players coming into this weekend is going to be quite high...

"The Welsh lads, they're out of Europe now. Some of them might be trying to qualify for the Amlin (Challenge Cup) but they do not have that mental toll on them at the moment."

Most Read in Sport