Sexton signs contract extension

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Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has signed a contract extension with the IRFU until the end of the 2023 World Cup. He revealed that he will then retire after the tournament which will be held in France.
Sexton said: “I’m delighted to be able to say it. I’ve been beating around the bush for six months, always nervous talking about the World Cup when you weren’t guaranteed to be there, but I just want to make the most of this last 18 months of my career, and go out on the top.
“It’s up to me now to work hard and get the body and mind in the best shape possible, and attack the last 18 months.”
The out-half was made captain by Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell in 2020 and it seemed likely he would play until the end of the four year cycle. Sexton made his debut against Fiji in 2009 and has played 103 times for Ireland. He earned his 100th cap against Japan in November.
During his Ireland career he has won three Six Nations titles, which includes the Grand Slam in 2018.
The captain said: “I am just very hungry to stay in the international setup. I don’t want to go out with a whimper, I want to go out at the top. So, whatever it is, 18 more months to make the most of a career. Yeah, hopefully we can finish on a high.
“It was always my intention to try and stay at the top of my game to get myself to a World Cup and I’m very thankful and grateful that I’ve been afforded that opportunity to do it. Now it’s up to me to keep the body in good shape.
“I’m still very driven to get there and perform at the World Cup. That was one of the biggest factors for me. I spoke to a lot of guys who have finished in the game with big regrets over World Cup and I have a chance now to do that.
“It’s obviously a long time away and at this moment we’ve got a lot in front of us to focus on but it’s great to get it sorted.
“I’ve said it previously, I’ve played with a lot of guys that went out at the top of their game. People that have won a World Cup, like Richie McCaw and Brad Thorn. I played with Brad and took a lot from him.
“Closer to home then, Rory Best, Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll. All these guys played to a similar age so you take bits from all of them; Peter Stringer, Donncha O’Callaghan. It’s a long list so it’s not like I’m the first person ever to do it.
“I am just very hungry to stay in the international setup. I don’t want to go out with a whimper, I want to go out at the top. So, whatever it is, 18 more months to make the most of a career. Yeah, hopefully we can finish on a high.”