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Cullen backs Kearney to begin road back to Ireland setup against Ulster

The head coach doesn’t have to look beyond his own squad for proof a 33-year-old can play his way back in.

Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

LEINSTER HEAD COACH Leo Cullen has backed Rob Kearney to follow Devin Toner’s lead and bounce back after being omitted from a pivotal Ireland camp.

The 33-year-old veteran fullback will start in Leinster’s inter-pro clash against Ulster tomorrow and was not among the extensive 45-man list of men invited to new Ireland boss Andy Farrell’s ‘mid-season stocktake’ with Jordan Larmour heading a list of likely successors to his 15 shirt.

However, Cullen used the example of Toner, also 33, as an inspiration Kearney can follow after the second row was invited back into the fold by Farrell.

“It’s a very competitive group, the international selection at the moment. Rob has 90-odd caps for Ireland so when a player like that gets dropped down or not selected for a squad it’s always a surprise,” said Cullen.

“Rob is fortunate in that he gets an opportunity to play against Ulster tomorrow and show what he can do.

We’ve had other guys who didn’t make selection for the World Cup, Devin Toner is a classic example. He’s come back to us and been outstanding since not being selected for the World Cup.

“Dev has been outstanding for us and gets rewarded by being selected again. Rob just needs to try and control what he can control himself now; playing well for Leinster, gets a great chance tomorrow night and hopefully he goes well.”

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Sean Farrell

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