Sport Leinster Rugby

Thursday 13 December 2018

Rob Kearney vows to play on past 2019 Rugby World Cup and is open to move abroad

 

'Kearney is currently on an IRFU deal and remains a first-choice option for Joe Schmidt.' Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
'Kearney is currently on an IRFU deal and remains a first-choice option for Joe Schmidt.' Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Rob Kearney has signalled his desire to continue his career beyond next year's World Cup and says he is open to a move abroad.

The 32-year-old full-back's contract expires at the end of the tournament in Japan and he admits he had considered finishing at that point.

But he says a combination of his form, fitness and the results at Leinster and Ireland have convinced him to continue.

"I wanted to leave it until after November before I had any thoughts on it," he said.

"I've made the decision now that I'm going to play after the World Cup, in some capacity. So, I'm still no further down the road as to where.

"It wasn't in doubt but I just didn't want to put myself under too much pressure… just to see how the body was first and I always find that where I'm at physically is determined by where I am mentally.

"When my body is good and I feel fresh and we're winning it's very hard not to really enjoy what you're enjoying and keep wanting for more.

"It's something that I need to start the process in the next month or so."

Kearney is currently on an IRFU deal and remains a first-choice option for Joe Schmidt. He is expected to wear the No 15 jersey in Japan as long as he remains injury-free.

He will be part of the Leinster side that faces Bath on Saturday, but Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster have a number of injury concerns with Jack McGrath out of the double-header after undergoing hip surgery.

An injury to scrum-half Nick McCarthy narrows the coaches' options given tournament rules dictate they can only select two of Scott Fardy, James Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park.

Dan Leavy, Jordan Larmour, Rory O'Loughlin and Jack Conan are in contention after overcoming recent injuries.

England No 8 Zach Mercer has emerged as a major doubt for Bath who are already without the services of Taulupe Faletau.

Mercer injured his knee against Sale and his absence could see Springbok back-row Francois Louw fill the void.

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