They say money doesn’t bring happiness, and for an example of this age old adage, we need look no further than Irish rugby out-half Jonny Sexton. Sexton moved from all-powerful Leinster to French club Racing Metro with the promise of a reported salary of 750,000 euros ($1m) per annum. If his own recent comments are to be believed, it may have been a massive mistake.
In several interviews lately Sexton has said, without any aggressive prompting, that he has at times felt like quitting French club rugby and returning home to Ireland and, presumably, Leinster.
Some of Sexton’s comments are a little curious in that he seems genuinely shocked that things are, well, different, in France. One is reminded of the great Liverpool striker Ian Rush’s legendary quote about his time in Juventus, Italy. The magnificent goal-scorer said, in all seriousness, "It’s like living in a different country."
Perhaps what’s driving Sexton’s comments is the relative lack of success he is having in France. Racing Metro is not enjoying life in French Top 14 rugby right now and Sexton is not having as big an impact on the league as he would have wished. Racing Metro currently sits outside the top six places in the Top 14 and has already been dumped unceremoniously out of the Heineken Cup, finishing bottom of Pool 4 with just a win and a draw from six games.
[[quote:“I think it’s great that they’re staying, the IRFU, fair play to them, they’ve really stepped up to the plate. I think it’s important for Irish rugby that guys stay. I sound like a hypocrite, but that’s the bottom line.”, pos:right]]
Perhaps most damning of all, Sexton has come out and applauded other Irish players for staying in Ireland with new contracts from the IRFU. Ireland captain Paul O’Connell and back-row Jamie Heaslip have reportedly spurned big money moves to France to stay in Ireland, and Sexton came out and said:
“I think it’s great that they’re staying, the IRFU, fair play to them, they’ve really stepped up to the plate. I think it’s important for Irish rugby that guys stay. I sound like a hypocrite, but that’s the bottom line.”
That does not sound like someone who is happy right now, to say the least.
You would wonder what his current employers think about comments like, “There have been some games where I thought, "I’m walking in on Monday and telling them (Racing) I’m going home."
In sports, winning cures absolutely everything and if Ireland continues to win at the international level, and if Racing finally rights their ship and starts churning out wins, no doubt Sexton would find a way to become comfortable on his bed of money in France.
In the meantime, he will have to just roll up his sleeves, dig in, and try and push his teams onwards and upwards.
However, as we said at the start, doesn’t this all prove the old adage though, money can’t buy happiness?