Sexton signs with Ireland and Leinster until 2021

Johnny Sexton signs new Ireland contract

Lions fly-half Johnny Sexton has signed a new deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union that means he will play for Ireland and Leinster until 2021.

Sexton, 33, was named 2018 World Rugby player of the year after helping Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam.

The two-time British and Irish Lions back was contracted to the IRFU until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

“It is where I have always wanted to play so I am delighted to extend,” said the Dublin-born player.

“We get looked after extremely well here and it is an exciting time for Irish rugby. I am looking forward to hopefully being a part of that over the next few years.”

Sexton has played for Leinster for the large majority of his professional career, except for two seasons at Racing 92.

He continued to play for Ireland throughout that spell in France, despite an IRFU policy that gives preference to Irish-based players.

Every player in Joe Schmidt’s squad for this year’s autumn Tests was based in Ireland.

Sexton’s decision to extend his deal beyond the current World Cup cycle is a boost to incoming Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, who will succeed Schmidt after next year’s tournament in Japan.

Ireland won every game Sexton started in 2018, including him playing an influential role in the win against New Zealand in November as they climbed to second in the world rankings.

The playmaker’s successful season also extended to provincial level as he helped Leinster to a European Champions Cup and Pro14 double.

“Johnny’s hunger and drive mark him out as a truly world-class competitor,” said IRFU performance director David Nucifora.

“He sets a performance benchmark for those around him and is investing in the development of young out-halves in the Ireland squad while also seeking improvement in his own performance.

“He is a model professional and has been at the centre of a lot of the success enjoyed by Irish rugby over the past few years.”

Sexton made his Leinster debut in 2006 and broke into the Ireland team three years later, making his debut in an autumn international against Fiji.

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BBC Sport – Rugby Union

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