Jonathan Sexton made his much-anticipated competitive debut for Racing Metro in Saturday’s 19-14 victory against Brive in the Top 14.
Sexton's ‘home’ debut came not at Racing Metro’s Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir in Colombes, but at Stade Marcel-Deflandre, almost 300 mile away in La Rochelle.
The traditional August exodus from Paris and its suburbs prompted officials to take the novel approach in the hope of attracting a large crowd of holidaymakers.
Sexton was instrumental in Les Racingmen’s opening try after just ten minutes when his intelligent kick allowed Benjamin Lapeyre to cross the whitewash.
Sexton added a conversion before Brive responded with a try of their own.
The former Leinster out-half converted one of two penalty opportunities as Laurent Travers led 10-5 at the interval.
After the restart, Brive started the brighter, with Gaetan Germain’s penalty reducing arrears to just two points.
Sexton was then the victim off a cynical off-the-ball challenge which resulted in the 28-year-old receiving treatment.
An ensuing penalty in the 49th minute was converted to make the score 13-8, but Sexton spurned the chance to increase his side’s advantage two minutes later with an ill-judged kick.
Brive hit back with a long-range penalty from Germain, as Sexton made way for Jonathan Wisniewski, who went on to register two fine penalties.
Laurent Ferreres’s drop goal in the 75th minute kept Brive in the contest, but Racing Metro emerged victorious.