Kearney 'very close' to signing new contract for next season
Rob Kearney is set to end the speculation surrounding his future by signing a nine-month contract extension that will see him remain in Ireland until the end of next season.
The Leinster full-back has been locked in negotiations with the IRFU for the past two months and he revealed that the length of the deal being offered was the reason why the talks have dragged on for so long.
Kearney, whose current contract runs until after the World Cup, was pushing for a two-year extension, only for the union to stand their ground.
The 33-year-old hasn't ruled out continuing his career beyond next season, but is now ready to put pen to paper on the nine-moth deal.
"We're nearly there," Kearney told the Irish Independent.
"We're very, very close. We just need to sign it now at this stage. I can't control how these things materialise themselves (in public).
"The offer was on the table two months ago. It was the week just before the European quarter-final and then I was going back and forth just on small little things.
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"Then I was into the semi-final and I was just like 'I'm going to park this altogether until the season is over'.
"Then I was going to pick it up this week and obviously last week it started to hit the headlines so the timing of it wasn't ideal, but it wasn't really that frustrating.
"There hasn't been a huge amount of back and forth. I think sometimes things can be made out to be more than they actually are.
"I have always been very upfront with the union about my ambitions. I would liked to have signed on for two more years, so it will only be a nine-month deal until the end of next season. That was probably where most of the sticking point was."
The news comes as a boost to Leinster, who are already losing plenty of experience with the departures of Seán O'Brien and Jack McGrath.
Kearney will be included in Ireland's extended World Cup training squad, with Joe Schmidt set to name a group of approximately 45 players today.