Six Nations: Ireland captain Johnny Sexton says he 'not motivated by contracts' ahead of trip to Scotland

Johnny Sexton
Sexton returned to the Ireland side after a head injury for the victory over Italy

Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has said he is motivated by winning rather than securing new contracts.

The 35-year-old Leinster fly-half last week signed a one-year extension to his IRFU deal which will take him to the end of the 2021-22 season.

There has been uncertainty recently over whether Sexton will still be playing come the 2023 World Cup, but he said his focus is more short-term.

"I don't think I'm motivated by contracts," Sexton said.

"I'm motivated by trying to achieve things with these teams and win things, that is the way I have always been.

"I don't think about having to play well to try and get another contract, it doesn't work like that. I am very driven to try and finish this campaign on a high and then go back to Leinster and try and have a successful end to the season.

"I will think about next year when summer time rolls around and you have a bit of time to reflect and see where you are, but it is a very short-term focus at the moment."

Scotland fly-half Finn Russell
Sexton has warned of the threat posed by Scotland fly-half Finn Russell

Sexton was speaking in the build-up to Ireland's Six Nations trip to Scotland on Sunday, where Andy Farrell's side will be hoping to build on their first win of the tournament against Italy in their last match.

Ahead of the Italy game, the Ireland captain said he "might not" be part of the full World Cup tournament cycle but later said that was a "throwaway comment".

When asked if he would have preferred a two-year contract extension rather than one-year, the number 10 said he always knew it was going to be one year.

"It was done in the right way. Obviously it was delayed by Covid like everyone's was, but it was agreed pretty quickly," he continued.

"When you get to the age I'm at, for most guys in their mid-30s it is one year and see how you feel this time next year, how the body is holding up and how the mind is holding up.

"That is really it. I always knew it was going to be a one-year-at-a-time job when it got to this stage and I'm delighted to continue the journey for another year.

"I am still very hungry to try and achieve success with Leinster and Ireland, and once my team-mates know that and see that every day on the training pitch, that is all that matters to me."

Sexton wary of Russell's 'box of tricks'

After losing their opening two Six Nations games to Wales and France, Ireland go into their fourth match of the Six Nations campaign on the back of a 48-10 win in Rome.

Sexton is well aware Scotland will provide much stronger opposition and is particularly wary of the threat posed by opposite number Finn Russell.

"He is obviously a big threat to us," he added.

"He has a full box of tricks that he tries to pull out for most games. He is obviously a threat to the line, he has got a good short kicking game and he can pull the strings if we let him.

"He has hurt us in the past. We haven't played against him the last couple of times we have played Scotland, so we have had to go back and look at some old footage.

"He has been in good form for his club and is a massive threat, like they have across their team. Finn and [captain] Stuart Hogg are probably the stand-out guys and we will have to be on our game this week to stop them."

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