Sunday 21 January 2018

Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne compliment each other really well - Rob Kearney

Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Ireland full-back can't wait to see how Joe Schmidt's new centre partnership of Jared Payne and Robbie Henshaw fares against the form team on the planet.

At 5.30pm tomorrow at the Aviva, Jared Payne will make his Ireland debut at outside centre alongside Connacht star Robbie Henshaw and he is faxing a baptism of fire.

Rob Kearney has no doubt that the partnership could flourish and hopes that their physicality will bring something new.

"It's really exciting. They compliment each other really well. They are big lads, the biggest centre partnership we have seen in a long time. Robbie brings a really good freshness and youth there and although Jared is in for cap number 1, he brings a huge amount of experience to his game as well," he told

"When you go into these big games, the one thing that I know the two guys will give is 100pc commitment and a huge level of physicality. Once you bring that into any game, regardless of the size of it, we will be well on our way.

"Okay, they may not have played that combination together, or Robbie might not have played a huge amount at 12 but sometimes that can be overplayed a little bit and if you bring a huge amount of aggression, physicality and commitment, it makes up for a huge amount of the rest."

South Africa approach the game on the back of a stunning 27-25 win at Eden Park over the All Blacks and Kearney believes they will be targeting four from four starting with Ireland tomorrow

"(The result would give them a) huge amount of confidence, I imagine. We didn't beat them (New Zealand). We stayed within two points and we got a lot of confidence from that game," said Rob Kearney, referencing Ireland's dramatic defeat last November," he added.

"I can only imagine what it has done to South Africa. They are probably the form team in the world right now. They are going to be coming over here and they will be looking for clean slates and we need to get out of the blocks really, really early. That is going to be the key to it."

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