Jonathan Sexton was out in front of the media for the first time in months yesterday, a break which he said yesterday was not without its benefits.

He is fronting a new €1 million advertising campaign for convenience retailer Mace and is pictured above having taken part in a “money can’t buy” training session with the U14 team from Ardee Rugby Club.

The advertising features Sexton in a number of different shopping scenarios in a reprise of the previous ‘chicken roll’ ad.

To further support the TV campaign, Mace hosted a consumer competition to win the training session which took place this week.

Sexton has been an ambassador with Mace since 2018 and was reflecting on the next stage of his life yesterday, while by no means accepting that this might be his final year.

Reminded of the fact that he was five months younger than Cristiano Ronaldo he said that he had taken a keen interest in making sure that he did everything right to ensure his body would stand up to the constant strain of elite sport after he turned 30.

“You always search for those athletes that have longevity and I suppose since my early 30s I’ve been, not obsessed, but I’ve always been reading books or looking at things online or searching for things about people that look after themselves really well and do more and more every year to stay fit and try and stay at the top of their game.”

“There’s a lot of areas that I can improve on to do that, so it’s just getting the one-percenters, and guys like that inspire you.”

“You look through all sports. like basketball and tennis and there are people that break down those barriers or ceilings that people put on them. I find that interesting.”

He spoke of the disappointment of missing out on the Lions Tour but took comfort from spending more time with his family and broadening his sporting vision with first-time summer trips to Lord’s Cricket Ground and Wimbledon.

Things will return to normal next weekend when Leinster Rugby take on Harlequins at the Aviva Stadium in front of fans and then with the start of the new United Rugby Championship later in the month.

“We were extremely excited to be working with Jonathan Sexton again and to have him feature across the advertising campaign that we launched in July,” said Mace sales director Daniel O’Connell.

“The advertising campaign has been really well received. MACE Retailers are very proud of how they contribute positively to the communities they serve, and Johnny is one of the most respected role models for young people throughout Ireland.”

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