RACING MÉTRO COACH Laurent Labit says he will meet with Joe Schmidt in September to discuss out-half Jonny Sexton’s workload ahead of the 2014/15 season.
Rumours of a possible return to Leinster this summer for the 28-year-old surfaced again in the aftermath of Ireland’s Six Nations victory over France last weekend. Sexton himself and his national team coach, Joe Schmidt, have since quelled that speculation.
Labit, who won a Top 14 title with Castres last season, has joined that chorus, saying he found the stories of Sexton’s possible early departure from Racing amusing.
All that was written made us laugh, especially Jonny who feels great in Paris today,” Labit told rugby365.fr. “He said the same, his wife will give birth in Paris in July.”
Speaking to journalist Jean-François Paturaud, the Racing coach revealed that Sexton had addressed the club’s players on Monday, assuring them that he would be staying until the end of his contract in 2015.
Labit also said that the only discussions around Sexton’s contract were whether Racing could convince him to take the option of an extra year in France, extending his deal until the summer of 2016.
With Sexton certain to remain in Paris next season, Schmidt has admitted that he will need to build a stronger relationship with the coaches as Racing [Labit is the co-head coach with Laurent Travers, while Ronan O'Gara is an assistant coach.]
Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
With that in mind, Labit says Schmidt will visit the French capital in September to discuss Sexton’s workload.
“We will then have the calendar for the Top 14 and European Cup, which we hope to play in. As for them [Ireland], they already have their schedule for the November Tests when they will play three matches; two very important meetings with Australia and South Africa and one less so against Georgia.
The idea for them and us is that Jonathan Sexton is as happy as possible. That was always the deal,” said Labit.
Asked whether he felt Schmidt’s assertions that Sexton was overplayed by Racing at the beginning of the current season were justified, Labit admitted that the situation hadn’t been ideal.
“This season, we had lots of injuries in his position so we were obliged to play him more often than would be normal. He was also closely watched when he arrived, when everyone thought he was going to run the show in every game and lead Racing to wins.
“He also had muscle issues after the Lions tour. The idea is that we work together.”