Johnny Sexton comments a remarkably well-timed reminder to Leinster rivals he's going nowhere 4 years ago

Johnny Sexton comments a remarkably well-timed reminder to Leinster rivals he's going nowhere

There you go lads. Take and do with that information what you will.

It was with the remarkable timing of one of his flat passes that Johnny Sexton appeared on the national airwaves and let it be known that he was targeting the Lions tour to South Africa in 2021. Not only that, the outhalf suggested he was keen to go down the Tom Brady route and play on until he was 40.


"Stuart Lancaster has got me convinced I'm going to play 'til I'm 40 and my wife is going mad," he told Ray D'Arcy.

This is not the first time Sexton playing on until the year 2025 has been brought up. Earlier this season, after Leinster had put one over Montpellier at The RDS, Leo Cullen remarked:

"Johnny, of course, wants to play on until he's 40."

Cullen has an extremely dry wit so most of us in the room were convinced he must have been joking. Not so.


Sexton will, no doubt, be on the phone to Queensland Reds head coach Brad Thorn for advice. His former Leinster teammate ended up playing on until he was 41 and recently told The Hard Yards that, two years on, he still itches to get out on the pitch.

"As a four-year-old, I can actually remember saying to my Dad as I watched my brother play as an Under 6 - 'Let me play. Let me play Dad!'. I wanted to play. I was just itching to and Dad said, 'You've got to wait two years until you are an Under 6 and I'll let you play'.

"Now I'm about two years past my professional career. I'm 43 and I last played as a 41-year-old. I'm sitting here thinking, 'Let me play. Let me play!'"

Sexton is such a competitive animal that he will want to get the most out of his career in the coming years. His medium term goal will be the 2019 World Cup but his long-term stretches longer than any of us could have imagined.


Perhaps Sexton has witnessed the rising confidence of Conor Murray in his kicking abilities and may, after the World Cup, cede those duties to his half-back symbiotic brother.

That would certainly ease some of the physical strain and allow the No.10 to focus on his play-making, shot-calling and game generalship. Saying that, he is still just under 400 points shy of Ronan O'Gara's 1,083 Test points scored so getting the kicking tee off him could be a struggle yet.

The timing of the Sexton interview is fascinating as it comes at a time when Leinster and, to lesser extents, Ireland rivals Joey Carbery and Ross Byrne are mulling over the dangled, somewhat limp, carrot of a move to Ulster.

Joe Schmidt and IRFU performance director David Nucifora are keen for Leinster to offer up one of their talented young outhalves to alleviate the talent drain up north that was added to by the axing of Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding.


The likelihood is that Carbery will be the one that steps up and dons the white jersey in Dan McFarland's new-look side next season. The 22-year-old would be forgiven, though, for thinking he could just hold out another season until he eventually succeeded Sexton.

No chance, Sexton effectively declared on the national airwaves. I'm sticking around a while yet.

We're not sure if Carbery is an avid listener of the Ray D'Arcy show but, even if he was not tuned in, word will have reached him. It may be time for him to strike his own path if he has any true ambitions of one day wresting that green 10 jersey off Sexton.

And if Carbery doesn't get the hint, Schmidt and Nucifora may always look at some sort of billboard campaign close to his digs.