Declan Kidney insists speculation around the future of Jonny Sexton will not effect the fly-half’s performances in the RBS 6 Nations.
The Leinster star has been at the centre of mounting conjecture over a reported €;750,000-a-year contract with Racing Metro.
Sexton is in ongoing negotiations with the IRFU over a new contract and while Kidney remains hopeful a new deal will be struck, he is confident the fly-half will not be distracted.
"There’s always going to be some story about something and I’d much prefer a story about contract negotiations than a plethora of (stories about) injuries,” Kidney told the Irish Examiner.
"I think he’ll deal with it and the sooner for everybody that it can be brought to a conclusion, the better.
“Nobody likes their private life dragged out in public but at the same time I presume they need to take time to deliberate over it and then announce it."
Kidney reiterated his preference for Ireland’s top players to remain at home to ensure their availability to Ireland training camps.
"For players who are abroad, you don’t rule them out but your access to them is obviously curtailed," said Kidney.
"I see some of the Welsh lads who are playing abroad in France have got clearance to train with Wales next week, so they don’t seem to be too adversely affected but for our purposes, we want as many Irish players at home as possible.
"We’ve good Irish players playing abroad and sometimes they have to leave because the bottleneck is so tight, in terms of them getting game time, and we’ve had a few lads who’ve gone abroad and come back better for it. But overall, we want to keep as many of them at home as possible to keep the provinces as strong as possible.
"We don’t always have to go overseas to fill our provinces with good players."