Boost for Ireland as Kearney ready to sign new contract

Dave Kearney gave Irish rugby another boost yesterday when he confirmed he was ready to sign a new deal to play his rugby at home.

The younger of the two international playing brothers will seal the deal at IRFU headquarters within the next 48 hours and officially pledge his future to Leinster and Ireland.

Having come to within inches of scoring another try in the dying seconds of Sunday’s RBS Six Nations clash with Scotland, Kearney admitted yesterday: “It’s pretty much sorted. I’m going to look to get in now in the next couple of days and sign up.”

Kearney was somewhat disappointed to be denied his moment of glory at the end of Sunday’s game, but right now is looking to the future. “I’m really happy. It is obviously where I want to play and where I want to be”, he said at Carton House yesterday.

“It would have been nice to get in for it (try), yeah. I actually didn’t even look at the kick. I was just focusing on whether or not I got the ball down or not. It was unfortunate. I remember Ferg (Fergus McFadden) came over and the lads were asking me and I said I didn’t know. I thought I might have sneaked it in.” But this week – en route to what he hopes will be a long-term international future — is about prepping for what Kearney described as a huge test against the Six Nations holders .

“Prep has been going well. I think we know how tough a task it is going to be. We know the quality Wales have in their back three. They have some pretty serious athletes throughout the back line. We have come across them, be it with Northampton or Cardiff, this season already, we (Leinster players) have played them a few times. We know what they like to do and how they like to play but it is certainly going to be pretty tough.

“We’ve done a lot of video work on their back line but it is obviously down to yourself as well to do a bit of work so you know what to expect. It is going to be different because those lads have a lot of power and pace and they are quite big. From an individual point you just can’t afford to give them that much space because when you give guys like North and Cuthbert space they will take it.”

As a Gaelic footballer of note, Kearney hopes his experience as a midfielder in Ireland’s national game will help him deal with any aerial confrontation against the big Welsh backs when the bombs are coming down. So far so good, he reckoned, in relation to the outcome of such duels against Scotland.

“Joe (Schmidt) was pretty happy with how it went. There were still a couple of ones that we could have taken on the full as opposed to a couple of times where we got slap-backs, which are obviously still good, but our main focus is to catch that ball in the air.

“It is something that is a really big part of our game and a really important part of the modern game for back three players as a whole. This week it is going to be a bit different although Lamont (Scotland) is a big player like North and Cuthbert. It will be pretty hard to get over the top of them.”

These days, chasing kicks or positioning well for opposition assaults are a big part of what is expected of back three players. Kearney realises fully the expectations of team colleagues and coaching staff.

“Definitely (we) practice more, especially since Joe came into Leinster. It’s the first thing we did the first couple of days training that Joe took us. It’s so important now; it’s a really important part of our game”.


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