Johnny Sexton confirms return date but admits ‘guttling’ reality.

rugby world cup Johnny Sexton Ireland leinster injury Credit: Alamy

rugby world cup Johnny Sexton Ireland leinster injury Credit: Alamy

Johnny Sexton has provided one latest update on his return from a groin injury, with the fly-half hoping to be fit for the start of the Rugby World Cup training camp in Ireland.

The playmaker suffered the problem during their 29-16 Six Nations Grand Slam triumph against England in March.

It was later confirmed that he would require surgery and “probably” miss the rest of the season.

He played his last game for Leinster

There was little chance of him making it to the United Rugby Championship should Leinster get there, but Sexton has now confirmed his provincial career is over.

Instead, the kingpin is aiming for a return in mid-June when the Irish squad reassembles to begin preparations for the World Cup in France.

“We’re going back on June 19, so that’s my goal, to get back to full strength with the team, get rid of the physios and just do pre-season with the rest of them,” he told the Irish Independent.

“I spoke to Josh (van der Flier) at the time of the injury, about how long it took to come back because he was the only guy who had a similar injury. He came back in record time, in nine or 10 weeks and so I thought, ‘Here we go, maybe the URC final if we get there.’

“But no, the surgeon says age matters, apparently, and also the fact that I’m a footballer, so I need some kind of special attention to the load I’m under and how I gradually build through the gears with That.So it’s a little different, and it’s June 19th.

While the positive for Sexton is that he will be back in form for the global tournament, it means he will be unable to take part in Leinster’s end-of-season run-in.

“He’s gutted, right?” he said.

“That’s why when I was going off injured against England, I immediately thought: ‘How long before you come back because it means a lot to play for Leinster?’

“Some other countries, it’s the country first, then the province, but with all the players in Ireland, obviously Ireland is the pinnacle but it’s not like a big step backwards to play for our province, it means a lot to us.

“It’s very hard to lose them, but that’s life, I’ve never lost a final to Leinster before so it’s something new, but I wish the lads well, they’re great friends of mine, so I hope they do what they can.” business and taking home five stars would be very special.

“I don’t think I feel a massive part of it, but it will still mean a lot to withdraw from the club with as many stars as any other club.”

Take revenge against La Rochelle

The Irish provinces showed their class by beating Toulouse in the semi-final of the European Cup, setting up a meeting with La Rochelle in the highlight event.

It’s a repeat of last year’s final, which the French won 24-21, and Sexton will be hoping his teammates can get the job done this time around.

“The toughest match has to come, like every European Cup, the toughest match you play in is the final for a lot of different reasons: pressure, expectation, all these things, and it all boils down to one day,” he said.

“We’ve been on the wrong side the last two times, before that we won four European Cups and a Challenge Cup in a row, we’ve never lost one, and now we’ve lost the last two.

“So hopefully the kids will have learned from the last one and go out and do business.”

TO KNOW MORE: Leinster reject Ronan O’Gara’s toughest claims with ‘bloody tough squads’ in URC

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