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Rob: My injury hell

ROB Kearney has been battling a debilitating back injury for an astonishing seven years - but remains bullish about his chances of playing in this season's Six Nations.

Like Brian O'Driscoll, who is on the mend following a successful operation to fix a damaged ankle ligament, Kearney's season is poised on a knife edge after surgery on a damaged disc.

"I have been dealing with this problem for a long time. I first got it on St Stephen's Day 2005 against Ulster at Ravenhill," he said, in a stunning revelation.

"It has been bothering me since but it got really bad last year. It put me in doubt for the week of the Heineken Cup final last season.

"When I went on tour to New Zealand in June, it got worse and worse. It probably should have been looked after then. But it wasn't.

"If I am back in January I will consider that a pretty good return."

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