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Rob Kearney named European Player of Year

AFTER being crowned Europe's best player yesterday, Rob Kearney declared his desire to round off a superb season by helping Leinster to become the first side to claim a Heineken Cup-Pro12 double.

The full-back, who had already scooped the IRUPA Player of the Year award, succeeded team-mate Sean O'Brien and now wants to complete the domestic season by beating the Ospreys in the Pro12 final at the RDS on Sunday.

"That's going to be huge for us," said Kearney. "Anyone who manages to put 40 points on Munster has to be a really good team -- the Ospreys were impressive.

"This award is a hugely proud moment for me, to follow in the footsteps of Sean O'Brien as ERC European Player of the Year is really satisfying."

Gatland to join up with Wales' Oz tour

WALES interim coach Rob Howley is banking on Warren Gatland being able to join the Grand Slam champions at some stage of their tour to Australia.

Head coach Gatland was ruled out of the trip Down Under when he fractured both his ankles -- after falling off a ladder in New Zealand -- but Howley revealed that he could yet link up with the Wales squad in Australia.

"He is fine, I spoke to him last week, he was in good heart and he was laughing and joking on the phone so he must be doing something right," said Howley.

"We are still hopeful we will see him in the Test series at some stage."

Irish Independent