Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Jonathan Sexton's French adventure may be coming to an end

Cruel blow: Johnny Sexton is facing injury battle
Cruel blow: Johnny Sexton is facing injury battle

Ireland out-half Jonathan Sexton could be on his way home.

The 2013 British and Irish Lions Test match 10 is known to have found it difficult to adjust to life in France with Racing Metro and yesterday at Ireland's Carton House training camp, there was speculation that the IRFU are involved in discussions with the Paris club to buy him out of his contract.

Close friend and former Leinster team-mate Brian O'Driscoll said: "Listen, I don't want to talk out of turn. Jonny is contracted to Racing and I think it would be disrespectful to them to say we're looking at taking him away from them.

"I think everyone is in agreement that we didn't want to see him go and if a situation arose where he did come back and some agreement was made, I don't see that being a negative.

"I know he'd be welcomed into the fold from a provincial point of view and I'm sure the management would like to be able to control his game-time a little bit more than they currently can.

"I suppose it's one just to wait out and we'll see what happens."

Sexton is a doubt ahead of Ireland's RBS 6 Nations Championship clash with Italy on Saturday at the Aviva Stadium (2.30pm).

He has a hand ligament injury, for which reason Racing do not want him to play. Ireland, however, are hopeful he will be fit.

Irish team manager Michael Kearney said: "We will receive a further specialist review after which we will have a clearer picture.

"We remain optimistic that Jonny be available for selection this coming weekend."

Itemising the situation with others, Kearney said: "Luke Marshall suffered a concussion on Friday night. He was well post-game, but in consultation with the Ulster medical team it has been agreed that he will complete his graduated return-to-play protocol in Ulster.

"Tommy Bowe played 40 minutes against the Dragons and thankfully he had no adverse reaction after the game and will continue his training and return to full fitness this week in Ulster.

"Andrew Trimble took a direct blow to knee during training in Belfast last week. He has recovered and will train fully this week."

Elsewhere, Peter O'Mahony (hamstring) should train today, Marty Moore and O'Driscoll are over their knocks, while Luke Fitzgerald's position is being monitored, but Felix Jones (knee) has been told to rest for 10 days.

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