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Kearney's contract discussions with IRFU and Leinster progress 'slowly'

The 33-year-old fullback says ‘the fire is burning to do it here in Leinster and Ireland.’

ROB KEARNEY SAYS his contract discussions with the IRFU and Leinster are ongoing, as he stressed that he is keen to remain on home soil after the World Cup.

The 33-year-old’s current deal with the IRFU expires after this year’s World Cup in Japan and Kearney says negotiations on a new deal are progressing slowly.

Maura Quinn and Rob Kearney Maura Quinn has joined Rugby Players Ireland's Executive Board as an Independent Board Member. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Kearney is currently on a central contract with the union but if he does remain in Ireland beyond the World Cup, his next deal may be directly with Leinster.

While the Louth man has previously been linked with a move abroad at the end of the year, he told The42 that he is keen to stay at home into next season and possibly beyond.

Kearney has given no indication that he is considering retirement in the summer of 2020.

“Discussions have started with the IRFU,” said Kearney today. “They’re slow, they’re progressing a little bit, but I’m not in a huge rush.

“I’m pretty content with where I’m at. know that there will be something that I’ll be able to do.”

Kearney did say that should he be unable to agree on a new deal in Ireland, he would consider playing abroad, but his clear preference is to remain at home and continue to play international rugby.

Rob Kearney Kearney remains a key figure with Leinster and Ireland. Source: Alex Davidson/INPHO

“The fire is burning to do it here in Leinster and Ireland and continue on after the World Cup,” said Kearney. “There’s where initial discussions are at and they’re progressing, just moving a little bit slowly.

“So that is the preference, but if that doesn’t happen and all parties aren’t happy – because Leinster are involved now obviously in it too – then maybe we’ll have to look abroad. But that is not the preference at the moment.

“Certainly, the fire is still very much burning at Leinster and Ireland.”

Kearney remains an important figure for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland, having starred in the November win over the All Blacks and started three games in this year’s Six Nations.

After coming off the bench in Leinster’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final win over Ulster, when Jordan Larmour was in the 15 shirt, Kearney returned to the starting team in last weekend’s semi-final victory over Toulouse and delivered a strong showing.

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Murray Kinsella

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