| 17.1°C Dublin

17th season Lions snub won’t change Johnny Sexton’s mindset for season ahead, insists Felipe Contepomi

Close

Jonathan Sexton pictured during the Leinster Rugby squad training session at UCD. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Jonathan Sexton pictured during the Leinster Rugby squad training session at UCD. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Jonathan Sexton pictured during the Leinster Rugby squad training session at UCD. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Leinster’s backs coach Felipe Contepomi doesn’t believe Johnny Sexton has anything to prove following his Lions snub, as the veteran out-half gets set to embark on his 17th season.

The 36-year-old recently admitted that he doesn’t think he will ever get over Warren Gatland overlooking him for the Lions series defeat in South Africa, but having gotten a full pre-season under his belt, Leinster are set to reap the rewards from having their captain available for Saturday’s United Rugby Championship (URC) opener against the Bulls at the Aviva Stadium.

Contepomi, who knows Sexton well having played with and coached the veteran out-half, is adamant that he is determined to make the most of the time he has left in his career.

“I don’t even think he takes it as something he has to prove,” Contepomi said. “He takes it as a challenge and sometimes he needs to enjoy himself. You know you are making your last few steps in your career. At 36 it’s not like you have a whole career in front of you. You are at the end part of your career so I think his mindset is to make the most out of it. In terms of he is a natural competitor.

“He wants to win and that’s in his mind. And if you want to win you need to be at your best. He understands that and that is where he is right now, to put himself in a position where he can win trophies.

“Talking to him, he said he can’t remember when he (last) had a good pre-season, so he is definitely enjoying having that freshness and the enjoyment of having a good, hard pre-season and being able to attack the season.”

Leinster are boosted by the availability of Ireland trio Dan Leavy (knee), Andrew Porter (ankle) and Garry Ringrose (shoulder), but Josh Murphy (calf) and Harry Byrne (foot) have been ruled out.

Meanwhile, Munster will have to plan without props Roman Salanoa (knee) and Liam O’Connor (neck/arm) for their URC opener against the Sharks on Saturday.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy