AAP/PA Images Kearney made his Super Rugby AU debut on Friday.
# Irish Abroad
'It was great to see an Irish international playing Super Rugby'
34-year-old Rob Kearney impressed for the Force in their defeat to the Brumbies.

UNSURPRISINGLY, THE AUSTRALIAN TV commentators were enamoured of Rob Kearney’s high-ball skills as the 34-year-old made his Super Rugby AU debut for the Western Force last weekend.

The former Leinster and Ireland fullback impressed in front of a crowd of more than 7,000 people in Perth as the Force were beaten 27-11 by the Brumbies, who are the defending champions.

Kearney’s debut was discussed by Eoin Toolan on today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every Monday. 

Eoin, who now coaches in Japan but previously worked with the Melbourne Rebels in Australia, was delighted to see Kearney making a strong first impression.

“He got off to a cracking start,” said Eoin. “With his first touch, he bumped off Irae Simone, the Brumbies centre who is not a small individual, and then moments later he bumped off Folau Fainga’a, who is not as small individual either.

“Rob was definitely fired up and it was great to see an Irish international playing Super Rugby, it was very enjoyable.

“He kicked really well and almost had a 50/22. For those who don’t know, one of the law variations in Super Rugby AU is that if you kick the ball inside your own 50 and it bounces into touch in the opposition 22, you retain possession and get the lineout.


“He had a brilliant banana kick off his left foot that had Australian rugby talking about it post-game, but it just bounced short of the 22. He kicked well and his high-ball skills, as always, were extremely accurate.

“He had a strong performance for the Force, who have recruited a lot of new players and definitely looked like they lacked a bit of cohesion.

“It got better as the game went on but they were playing a pretty settled Brumbies side and the Brumbies just proved too strong for them in the end.”

Today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra also includes discussion of the law trials in this year’s Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Aotearoa, as well as the start of the Top League season in Japan.

There is also reflection on wins for Connacht, Ulster, Munster, and Leinster over the weekend, and a look ahead to Ireland’s Six Nations clash with Italy on Saturday.

You can sign up as a member of The42 here in order to listen to the extra rugby podcasts and a wide range of other shows on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as getting weekly newsletters and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups.

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