“Anytime you have to go to Twickenham and try to beat England, it’s a formidable task. If you do it, it’s a fine achievement. If we come away with the win, it will leave the Six Nations finished on a good high for us leading into the summer tour.” The words of Rob Kearney as the build-up continues to Ireland’s clash with England.
The 2008 Six Nations championship might not be one to remember for Eddie O’Sullivan’s Ireland side when they reflect on it in years to come, but one man will have good reason to look back on it with pride.
Rob Kearney, who turns 22 later this month, has really come of age this season as a senior international player. Having come on as a replacement for the injured Gordon D’Arcy in Ireland’s opener against Italy last month, Kearney has made three starts in recent weeks against France, Scotland and Wales.
He grabbed his first Test try in the win over Scotland and was arguably Ireland’s stand-out player against Wales last Saturday when he slotted in at full-back.
The player himself clearly enjoyed his chance to wear the number 15 jersey but he has no concerns about moving back to the left wing for this Saturday’s game against England, depending on Geordan Murphy’s fitness.
Kearney admitted: “I suppose I was (happier there). I enjoyed (playing at) full-back, it’s the position I prefer more. In saying that, I’m equally comfortable on the wing and I’ve enjoyed playing on the wing this year. It really doesn’t bother me, I’m just happy to be in the first fifteen.
“I’ve been satisfied with how I’ve been playing but again this week is another week. The old cliche of you only being as good as your last game is so true.”
The Louth man has experience of playing alongside Murphy, who he rates as “a world class player.” He did so against Argentina last summer and Scotland recently.
Focusing on the fast-approaching encounter with England, Kearney is hopeful of keeping up his good form and helping Ireland close out the Six Nations on a winning note.
“England will be in front of their own fans at Twickenham. Nobody ever likes losing at home and we felt that very much against Wales last weekend – it’s a rotten feeling when you lose in front of your own people. England certainly won’t want to do that and it will be a tough game,” he added.
“Anytime you have to go to Twickenham and try to beat England, it’s a formidable task. If you do it, it’s a fine achievement. If we come away with a win, it will leave the Six Nations finished on a good high for us leading into the summer tour.”
Kearney, who is backing Ronan O’Gara to make a success of his captaincy role, knows what a big moment it would be in his career if he were to be part of an Ireland team that triumphs at the home of English rugby. Even if there is no Triple Crown or championship title on the line.
“Losing any game in a championship is always a horrible feeling. Although on paper there’s nothing to play for, inside we all know there’s a huge amount to play for and beating England at Twickenham is as good as it gets really,” insisted the Leinster flyer.
To listen to Rob Kearney’s interview in full, please click here.