JOHNNY Sexton will see out his contract at Racing Metro in Paris and will not return to Ireland after only one season.
Ireland’s out-half was rumoured to be heading home from France after finding it difficult to adjust to life across the English Channel, as speculation mounted in recent days about the IRFU potentially bringing back the 28-year-old to Leinster just 12 months after he signed for Racing.
It is believed, however, that the IRFU have yet made no approach to their fly-half about buying out his contract and bringing him home after one season.
At Ireland’s Carton House training camp yesterday, Brian O’Driscoll cautiously endorsed this prospect after suggestion that the IRFU were involved in discussions with the Paris club to buy Sexton out of his contract.
Former Leinster team mate O’Driscoll said: "Listen, I don't want to talk out of turn. Johnny is contracted to Racing and I think it would be disrespectful to them to say we're looking at taking him away from them.
"I think everyone is in agreement that we didn't want to see him go and if a situation arose where he did come back and some agreement was made, I don't see that being a negative.
"I know he'd be welcomed into the fold from a provincial point of view and I'm sure the management would like to be able to control his game-time a little bit more than they currently can.
"I suppose it's one just to wait out and we'll see what happens."
Sexton remains a doubt ahead of Saturday’s fixture against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium with a thumb strain.
Racing Metro initially announced that Sexton could be out for a considerable time, but Joe Schmidt is optimistic that he will regain fitness in time for the clash.
On Monday afternoon Irish manager Mick Kearney said: “Johnny Sexton is receiving further medical assessment today after which we will have a clearer picture. We are hopeful that he will train tomorrow and will be available for the game at the weekend.
"We will receive a further specialist review after which we will have a clearer picture.”
Speaking of the team’s fitness and injury list ahead of the Italy game he added: "Luke Marshall suffered a concussion on Friday night.
“He was well post-game, but in consultation with the Ulster medical team it has been agreed that he will complete his graduated return-to-play protocol in Ulster.
"Tommy Bowe played 40 minutes against the Dragons and thankfully he had no adverse reaction after the game and will continue his training and return to full fitness this week in Ulster.
"Andrew Trimble took a direct blow to knee during training in Belfast last week. He has recovered and will train fully this week."
Peter O'Mahony is expected to return to training today after sustaining a hamstring injury at Twickenham, Luke Fitzgerald's position is being monitored and Felix Jones has been told to rest for 10 days with a knee injury.