After pulling on an Exeter Chiefs jersey for the first time in last weekend’s dramatic victory over Gloucester Rugby, Jerry Sexton is more determined than ever to turn his trial into a permanent move.
The 21-year-old lock – the younger brother of Ireland fly-half Jonathan – has until the end of November to prove his worth to head coach Rob Baxter and land a contract with the Aviva Premiership Rugby side.
After being released by French Pro D2 outfit Auch, the former Ireland Under-20 international was snapped up by Baxter, initially as cover for injured captain Dean Mumm.
Sexton admits he jumped at the chance to join the reigning LV= Cup champions and relished his debut in the competition, playing the full 80 minutes in the 28-27 triumph at Sandy Park.
Yet with Mumm back to full fitness and reclaiming his place for Saturday’s LV= Cup clash against rivals Bath Rugby, Sexton knows he has a fight on his hands to secure a full-time deal.
“The mood is pretty good after last weekend but although it was good to get the win, we’re not happy with the performance,” he said.
“It was my first start and a nice moment to pull on an Exeter jersey – I’d watched them play a couple of years ago in Europe and always knew it was a good club.
“I’ve been really impressed by the club – I wasn’t sure what to expect but I wanted to play here as I knew Exeter play a wide and fast game with some big names.
“We have a fair few good forwards too, especially Moray Low who is a really good scrummager and has helped me a lot.
“I don’t know if this will turn into a permanent move yet – it hasn’t really been talked about and Rob Baxter’s not going to fuss too much about it.”
Sexton does not have far to look for inspiration with a British & Irish Lion in the family and the younger sibling admits Jonathan’s success is a prime source of motivation for his own career.
And although the fly-half is busy with a young family and his move back to Leinster from Racing Metro next season, Jerry was able to briefly call on his brother’s advice before joining the Chiefs.
“I talked to him about his move back to Ireland and he’s just had a baby boy so that was the main decision for him to come home,” he added.
“He doesn’t want to be away from the family and thought it would be best to be based back in Dublin.
“He’s the ultimate pro in his lifestyle and preparation – you couldn’t meet someone better. I would love and try to emulate his success and that’s the standard you have to reach.
“He didn’t have much to say about me coming to Exeter, other than he’d been impressed with them when he played against them in Europe.
“It is a big opportunity for me and I’m so happy I was offered this chance – nothing was going to stop me from coming here.”
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