Jer­sey boy Jerry aims to make it a Sex­ton dou­ble

JON NEW­COMBE talks to the younger Sex­ton brother aim­ing to crown his own sea­son

The Rugby Paper - - Feature -

JERRY SEX­TON will not get any broth­erly favours as he looks to add his own piece of sil­ver­ware to the fam­ily col­lec­tion. Sex­ton’s Jer­sey Reds side are two wins away from lift­ing the Bri­tish & Ir­ish Cup as well as striv­ing for an his­toric top-four Cham­pi­onship fin­ish.

Stand­ing in their way at the semi­fi­nal stage at Stade San­tander next Satur­day are Le­in­ster A, Sex­ton’s old club and where brother Johnny, one of Ire­land’s Grand Slam he­roes, con­tin­ues to ply his trade.

In­side in­for­ma­tion on the op­po­si­tion is likely to be thin on the ground, how­ever, de­spite a cheeky re­quest from sec­ond-row Jerry, at 24 the younger of the two by eight years.

Sex­ton told The Rugby Pa­per: “I asked him to send over some game footage but he wasn’t al­lowed to so we’ll have to try and get it some other way, but I don’t fancy our chances!”

“Jonathan, below, was plan­ning on com­ing over for the semi-fi­nal but it’s the same date as the Cham­pi­ons Cup. Hope­fully he can go on and win that as well as the Grand Slam, and Jer­sey can fin­ish top four and win the B&I. That would make dad and mum re­ally proud.”

Sex­ton, an abra­sive li­ne­out for­ward, was a reg­u­lar for Lon­don Ir­ish in the Cham­pi­onship when Jer­sey fell to a one-point de­feat to Mun­ster A in last sea­son’s hugely en­ter­tain­ing fi­nal, and he says the Reds are hell-bent on go­ing one bet­ter.

“We felt this year that the B&I Cup would be our best chance to win some­thing be­cause Bris­tol have got an un­be­liev­able squad and there are no play-offs to aim for. Every­one wants to play knock-out rugby and the boys who are still here from last year talk about how good a game the fi­nal was.”

Only two-time win­ners Le­in­ster A have reached back-to-back fi­nals in the nine-year his­tory of the unloved cross-bor­der com­pe­ti­tion and Sex­ton knows from first-hand the enor­mity of the task await­ing them.

“Just look at Le­in­ster’s squad – it doesn’t mat­ter who’s play­ing for their se­nior or A team, they change boys up ev­ery cou­ple of weeks and their youth sys­tem is one of the best in the world. Every­one has high stan­dards all the way through. “I played U18s, U19s, and U20s with them. They are a great club and it was a real hon­our to rep­re­sent them. I’ve a few friends there, like the two Byrne brothers, the prop and hooker, and they are good guys and good play­ers, so I look for­ward to play­ing against them.” Hav­ing seen his ca­reer stag­nate in Ire­land, Jerry left to bet­ter him­self else­where, spend­ing time at Ex­eter’s academy and in France be­fore wind­ing up at Ir­ish and now Jer­sey un­der Har­vey Biljon. The goal is still to play at the top level but for the time be­ing he is more than happy to be one of the main voices in the jug­ger­naut Jer­sey pack. “I played 20-25 games for Lon­don Ir­ish last year. But when they got back into the Pre­mier­ship Nick Kennedy felt it best for my de­vel­op­ment to stay in the Cham­pi­onship and play ev­ery week. I re­spected that de­ci­sion and looked else­where.

“Jer­sey is a good place to be and I have signed on for next sea­son. The coaches have put great faith in me and given me a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity with run­ning the li­ne­out. Hope­fully I’ll con­tinue to de­velop and learn.

“If a Pre­mier­ship or PRO14 team comes along Har­vey would never stop a player go­ing be­cause that’s every­one’s dream, and it’s what he wants for us as well. But at the mo­ment it is about work­ing hard for Jer­sey over the next 18 months.”

“Jer­sey coaches have put great faith in me and given me a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity ”

Pack leader: Jerry Sex­ton

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