herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Heaslip and Sexton remain loyal

Leinster relief as star trio pen contracts worth up to €400k

IT IS thought British & Irish Lion Jamie Heaslip and potential British & Irish Lion Jonathan Sexton must have won a salary increase of anything up to €400,000 in their negotiations with the IRFU to remain on home soil.

There is no doubt that Heaslip, 27, was capable of demanding €500,000 in France for his ongoing consistency in building 31 caps for Ireland as their firstchoice number eight and a rival for the tag of best in the world in his position.

“Money takes you so far. It is not the be-all and end-all. I am not saying you (the IRFU) have to match what is being offered elsewhere. But, you have to value the player,” said Heaslip, in The Herald last Friday.

BARGAINING

Perhaps, Sexton’s bargaining position was not as complete as Heaslip’s. He has not been long in power as Ireland’s master at the out-half controls as he’s still in tight competition with the enduring Ronan O’Gara.

The 25-yearold knew that his Ireland standing might suffer if he were to move abroad, especially to France. He was also known to be making less money than some of his team-mates.

That has been rectified with a bigger percentage increase in salary, while probably not exactly matching the money rewarded to Heaslip.

Don’t forget, his rise has been recent. He has only amassed 11 Ireland caps and was one of the lower paid first choice internationals.

“The majority of the time I play with Leinster. But I don’t negotiate with them, it’s got nothing to do with them. So, it’s me and the IRFU who decide whether I play for Leinster. I want to stay,” he said recently.

The news of O’Driscoll’s contract extension is the icing on the cake. While there was no public chess match over his future, he has embraced the fact that he is best served by staying at the club he has publicly proclaimed to “love”.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt can breathe that much easier now. His boys are going nowhere. Heaslip and Sexton are two players he can build his vision around and O’Driscoll will probably play to the end of Schmidt’s three-year reign.

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