Saturday 24 August 2019

'It's good to be back' - Resurgent Rob Kearney says there is much more to come

Rob Kearney of Ireland in action against Joaquin Tuculet of Argentina
Rob Kearney of Ireland in action against Joaquin Tuculet of Argentina

Rob Kearney and Ireland wrapped up a fine autumn series with a 28-19 win over Argentina but the full-back admits they can still improve.

Ulster wing Jacob Stockdale's double and a CJ Stander score sealed a November clean sweep for Joe Schmidt's men, adding to victories over South Africa and Fiji.

Kearney told Sky Sports: "Three-zero is pretty good.

"We've started really well but a little bit towards the mid-part of the second half we've gone a bit cold in the South Africa game, and we did a bit again today.

"We'll look to keep improving and take learnings from it, and that spell after 15 to 20 minutes of the second half will be a real work-on for us."

Regardless, Ireland's form bodes well for their Six Nations campaign, which begins against France in Paris on February 3.

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Kearney said: "We'll get back to our provinces and clubs, work back into leagues around Europe and be ready to get back in January."

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The Leinster player impressed as he continues to re-establish himself in Schmidt's side after a long-term injury, and he said: "I've struggled a bit fitness-wise the last couple of years, it's good to be back and get another 80 minutes tonight.

I'll keep working hard and hopefully the performance will come."

Ireland led 13-0 at half-time and Stockdale's second try early in the second period effectively snuffed out hopes of a Pumas comeback.

Argentina's Martin Landajo said: "The second half, our first 10 minutes weren't that good and that was difference. We made a good match but we lost the game in the second half."

Fatigue may have played a part for the tourists, most of whom play for club side Jaguares in the southern hemisphere Super Rugby competition as well as their international commitments.

Landajo said: "There are few players in Argentina, where professional rugby is just starting.

"Young players will have more teams (to choose from) but we have to do this for a couple of years."

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