Monday 26 September 2016

Kearney backs Ireland to defy odds and beat England

Published 17/02/2016 | 02:30

Rob Kearney (Marc O'Sullivan)
Rob Kearney (Marc O'Sullivan)

Ireland may be suffering from a growing list of injuries ahead of next week's visit to Twickenham, but full-back Rob Kearney believes they can still defeat England on their own patch.

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The experienced Leinster man was part of the team that suffered defeat in Paris last Saturday and believes that Joe Schmidt's side are not far off getting their first win of the Championship if they can start taking their chances.

Ireland will be without Sean O'Brien for game three, while Dave Kearney, Johnny Sexton and Mike McCarthy are doubts. That's on top of an already extensive list of absentees since the World Cup.

England coach Eddie Jones has kept faith with the match-day 23 that beat Italy last weekend for this week's training camp, indicating the Australian will change little as he targets a third successive win.

"We can. Of course we can," Kearney said when asked if Ireland can win. "The same way we could have beaten Wales and we could have beaten France.

Challenge

"We're going to be down a few more numbers, they're riding pretty high at the moment and playing particularly well so it is going to be a tough challenge, but by all means we can beat them.

"All the games have been pretty tight. So, yeah of course we can beat them and we're meeting up tomorrow afternoon. It's not going to be an enjoyable couple of days but we have to face the music and get back on the horse ."

Meanwhile, Leinster yesterday confirmed the signing of Robbie Henshaw and Ian Nagle while retaining a host of players.

Henshaw has agreed a three-year national contract with the IRFU that sees him switch provinces, while 27-year-old former Munster lock Nagle signs after a period out of rugby.

While internationals like Jack McGrath, Rhys Ruddock and Dave Kearney are among those who have re-signed, the province have yet to nail down the likes of Cian Healy, Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss. Healy's representatives have been in negotiations with the IRFU amid interest from Premiership side Worcester.

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