Saturday 24 February 2018

Rob Kearney insists he will be fit for Ireland's autumn internationals

Kearney, whose current deal expires at the end of the season, revealed that he still does not know where he will be playing next season.
Kearney, whose current deal expires at the end of the season, revealed that he still does not know where he will be playing next season.
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

THE good news keeps on coming for Declan Kidney, with Rob Kearney insisting he will be fit for the November internationals.

Coming hot on the heels of Paul O'Connell's return to form and positive noises on Ronan O'Gara's availability for the first Test against South Africa in 18 days' time, the news that the European Player of the Year is on the mend will further boost the Ireland coach ahead of tomorrow's squad announcement.

The Leinster full-back has played just 32 minutes of rugby this season, having picked up a back injury in his comeback game against Connacht.

He will face a fitness test on Thursday to see if he can make his return this week against Cardiff Blues, but the visit to the Ospreys a week later looks more likely.

Even if he doesn't get a game for Leinster beforehand, the 26-year-old says he has no qualms about facing the Springboks on such limited minutes on the pitch.

"In an ideal world, you would like to get a couple of games under your belt, but I'm not going to be too fazed by it," he said.

"I came back into an international before the World Cup after being out for nine months and it went okay, so it is something I have done before.

"While ideally I'd be able to get a few games under my belt, if that's not the case then we don't live in a perfect world."

Kearney, whose current deal expires at the end of the season, revealed that he still does not know where he will be playing next season.

The player is believed to want to stay within the Irish system, but, given the current climate, the IRFU and Leinster may not be in a position to match the deal they handed the Louth man two years ago, when he turned down a salary of more than €500,000 to go to France in order to stay.

Talks are due to begin soon.

"Its still early days, the priority is to get on the field, playing," he said.

"It is always in the back of your mind, knowing that your future isn't fully nailed on yet. I don't know where I could be playing my rugby next year, but my focus has to be to get back playing."

Irish Independent

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