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Leinster and Ireland fly-half Sexton pens contract extension with the IRFU

Credit: PA

Leinster and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton has signed a contract extension with the Irish Rugby Football Union until the end of the 2020-21 season.

The 33-year-old has enjoyed a stellar 2018 and was crowned World Rugby Player of the Year.

Sexton helped Leinster to a European Champions Cup and Guinness PRO14 double, after steering Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam.

Ireland also beat reigning world champions New Zealand on home soil for the first time last month and will be expected to challenge the All Blacks for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Sexton was ever-present for Ireland in their Grand Slam victory earlier in 2018. Credit: PA

Sexton spent two years in Paris with Racing Metro from 2013 to 2015, but now appears likely to see out his playing days in Dublin.

Sexton said on irishrugby.ie: "I am delighted to sign a new IRFU contract to continue to play for Leinster and Ireland.

"It is where I have always wanted to play so I am delighted to extend. We get looked after extremely well here.

"It is an exciting time for Irish rugby. I am looking forward to hopefully being a part of that over the next few years."

Sexton made his Leinster debut in 2006 and his Ireland debut in November 2009.

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He has since won 78 caps, scoring 738 points, and has twice toured with the British and Irish Lions, playing all three Tests in the 2013 series win in Australia and again in the drawn series with New Zealand four years later.

He returned from Paris to Leinster in 2015 on a four-year contract which was due to expire after next year's World Cup.

Joe Schmidt will leave his role as Ireland head coach following the tournament in Japan, but now his successor, current defence coach Andy Farrell, has continuity with Sexton.

On Sexton, IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: "Johnny's hunger and drive mark him out as a truly world class competitor.

"He sets a performance benchmark for those around him and is investing in the development of young out-halves in the Ireland squad while also seeking improvement in his own performance.

"He is a model professional and has been at the centre of a lot of the success enjoyed by Irish Rugby over the past few years."