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Kearney: I made Zebo call to give him 'full' support

ROB KEARNEY has revealed how he rang Simon Zebo to give him some last-minute pointers ahead of the Springboks clash last week but won't be as forthcoming when they are both vying for the No 15 shirt.

ZEBO revealed on Saturday how the Leinster star, crowned the Rugby Writers' Player of the Year on Monday, called him in the game's lead-up.

"I didn't feel like he could do with it at all, Simon's a great player with great ability," said Kearney, who is out until January at least after back surgery.

"I just probably knew that, it being his first game at full-back, that he probably would have appreciated the call.

"I was just congratulating him on the opportunity and wishing him the best and if he wanted to have a chat about it, I was there to answer any question he wanted. It wasn't like: 'I'm here, what do you want to know.' I just wanted to wish him luck.

"It was different for me (starting out). Myself and Girvan Dempsey were with Leinster and we would have been there every day in the province together. We were together and I learned an awful lot.

"With Geordan Murphy, we were vying for the Ireland jersey for two or three years and there is a competitive nature with that. So he wouldn't really have shared too many tips.

"Likewise, if Zebs holds on to the jersey for the next 18 months or so, I'll get competitive and I certainly won't be looking to share any advice with him then. Big time. You have to have that competitive nature to be at the top, it's what drives you."

On his award, Kearney said: "I spoke about the award being a little bit of a poisoned chalice, because guys often go off the radar the following year and lose form a little. That has to be my primary goal, when I do get back, to try and get back to those heights."