Sexton extends Ireland contract to 2021

DUBLIN (AP) — World player of the year Jonathan Sexton signed a contract extension with the Irish Rugby Football Union on Tuesday to the end of the 2020-21 season.

Sexton, aged 33, will likely see out his career at Leinster, where he made his first-class debut in 2006.

His existing contract was to expire after the Rugby World Cup next year in Japan, where Ireland will be one of the title favorites.

“It is an exciting time for Irish rugby,” Sexton said in a statement. “I am looking forward to hopefully being a part of that over the next few years.”

The flyhalf made his debut for Ireland in 2009, and has 78 caps. He’s won three Six Nations titles, and helped the British and Irish Lions win the series in Australia in 2013 and draw the series in New Zealand in 2017. He’s also been key in Ireland’s first two wins over the All Blacks.

For Leinster, he’s played more than 150 matches, scored more than 1,300 points, and won four European Cups.

“He sets a performance benchmark for those around him,” IRFU performance director David Nucifora said.