Rob Kearney is one of three players, all from Leinster, set to make their first Six Nations starts when Ireland clash with defending champions France next Saturday. IrishRugby.ie spoke to the Louth man after the team announcement.
ON THE EXPERIENCE OF THE ITALY GAME:
“Coming on after 25 minutes, I got a good taste of what Six Nations rugby is like. Another big step this week in Paris and it’s not going to be easy.”
ON THE FRENCH TEAM:
“We all know France are a fantastic side. They’re very strong in certain areas, particularly in their back three where they are firing at the moment. But at the same time, we know what we’re capable of and if we play to our full potential well then we can come away with a win.”
ON PUTTING TRY-SCORING CHANCES AWAY:
“Obviously it’s hugely encouraging that we’re creating the opportunities because if you didn’t create them, the opportunities to score tries wouldn’t come.
“The margin for error is so small with those things – tt could be a pass off by half a yard or what not. It’s not the sort of thing you work on, it’s an execution thing and they come on the day sometimes.”
ON FACING FRANCE’S VINCENT CLERC:
“Certainly we do a lot of analysis on the opposite player. I’ve played against him twice already this season and I’ve huge respect for him, he’s a fantastic player. Certainly I’ll be looking out for his strengths.”
ON MAKING HIS FIRST SIX NATIONS START:
“In many ways, I think it’s important just to treat it like another game. Once kick-off comes that’s how it feels. During the game you don’t treat it any differently.
“I suppose the build-up will be something new to me. I think having come on so early last week against Italy will really stand to me.”
ON PLAYING WITH EXPERIENCED CAMPAIGNERS IN THE BACK THREE:
“Girvan (Dempsey) and Geordan (Murphy) have a huge amount of caps which is good for me. There’s that reliability at the back and certainly if there’s any panic, the two boys will be able to resolve it.
“I think, as well, playing with Girvan throughout the last three seasons for Leinster will stand to me an awful lot. I’m quite comfortable at the back with him, I’m delighted that he’s there alongside me.”
ON THE CONFIDENCE GAINED FROM LEINSTER’S RECENT WIN OVER TOULOUSE:
“Obviously Toulouse are a fantastic side and they’ve an awful lot of French internationals. Personally, marking Vincent Clerc for those two games will stand to me.”