By Tadhg Peavoy - Twitter: @TPeavoy
Former Ireland, Munster and Leinster star Tony Ward believes that Leinster outhalf Jonathan Sexton is right to accept Racing Métro's transfer offer and move to Paris.
Ward, speaking to RTÉ Sport, feels that the opportunity offered to the 27-year-old to play in the Top 14, on a rumoured €750,000 wage a season, is too good to refuse.
He said: “I must admit I thought there was a bit of gamesmanship being pulled [by Sexton] in terms of getting a better contract from the IRFU.
“But If I could turn back the clock and put myself in the same situation that he now has I would jump at it.
“I wouldn’t blame him in any respect for this opportunity now. It’s difficult to turn it down. He’s got to look after his future. To be fair to him, he’s moving from his comfort zone.
“It’d be very easy to continue the way he is. Where he lives, where he trains, everything is so convenient.
“It’s a hell of a move for him in that respect. So, in every way I admire him for making that move."
“It’s a hell of a move for him...So, in every way I admire him for making that move" - Tony Ward
IRFU cannot be blamed for letting Sexton leave
Ward also feels that the IRFU pulled out all the stops to keep Sexton, but simply could not match the offer that Racing put on the table.
“The IRFU have made every effort to hold onto him. But they just can’t compete with the kind of monopoly money offered, " said Ward.
“Whether it’s these benefactors, these sugar daddies if you want to call them that, it’s very hard for Irish rugby to compete with French rugby.
"And indeed for English, Scottish and Welsh rugby, who [also] have players moving to Top 14.
“I hope it’s not the plug hole now for Irish players to follow suit.
“But certainly it’s a brave move by Sexton and a realistic one too.”
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