Rob Kearney has sparked fears of a possible exodus of Ireland's Test stars by warning the Irish Rugby Football Union that Jonathan Sexton's move to France will be scrutinised closely.
Sexton informed the IRFU on Friday that he will be leaving Leinster at the end of the season after they were substantially outbid during contract negotiations. The 27-year-old - Ireland's prized asset - is poised to join Racing Metro after reportedly accepting a lucrative deal worth £640,000 per year.
Kearney has discussed the move with his close friend and Leinster team-mate and insists that if it proves a success, others might decide to head for the Top 14. "That's professional sport, it happens. 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," he said.
"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."