Tuesday 20 March 2018

Rob Kearney: ‘I thought we had lost the match when French ran in try’

Ireland players Paul O'Connell, left and Rob Kearney celebrate winning the 2014 RBS six nations championship after beating France
Ireland players Paul O'Connell, left and Rob Kearney celebrate winning the 2014 RBS six nations championship after beating France

IRELAND star Rob Kearney has admitted that he feared the worst after France ran in their disallowed try towards the end of the match in Paris on Saturday.

“I was one of the guys who didn’t see it was a forward pass so I genuinely thought that we had lost the game. I thought, 'Here we go again, are we we ever gonna get a bit of luck?' Thankfully that luck came our way.” 

Kearney admitted that the dressing room was relieved rather than celebratory after the match in an interview on Lunchtime with Jonathan Healy on Newstalk today.

“There was a collective sigh of relief that we had won it. We played throughout the whole tournament. Our destiny was in our own hands for most of the game. There was a real element of relief there.”

He also admitted that the players were delighted to win it for retiring centre Brian O’Driscoll.

“It was a brilliant send off for Brian. I think he really enjoyed it. Just by looking at him, I think he was delighted that it ended that way for him.”

He also admitted that the team wouldn’t be getting carried away in advance of the World Cup next year in England.

“Just because we have won a Six Nations Championship, that doesn’t automatically make us World Cup contenders. We need to continue growing and developing as a team. This team can do really good things.”

Kearney also paid tribute to Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt.

“You just have to look at his record since he has come to Ireland. It’s incredible – a couple of Heineken Cups, Rabos, a Six Nations Championship... There is no doubting that he is a hugely impressive coach. Is there a better coach than him in the world? It’s very debatable. He will not allow us to lose the run of ourselves and he will make us better every single week. That’s the key.”

Kearney also dismissed any talk a move away from Leinster.

“I’m really happy at Leinster. Johnny’s situation was very unique. I don’t think he really wanted to leave. When you are at a really good club like we are at Leinster, it’s very difficult to leave. It is not something that I am looking at the moment but down the road, you never know.”

Kearney also said that O'Driscoll's boots will be difficult to fill.

"You have Robbie Henshaw, you have Darren Cave - these guys are playing really well at outside centre. At  Leinster, we haven't had anyone coming through to play high intensity games in the No 13 jersey because Brian has been there for so long. There are a lot of guys who will wear the jersey but it will take them some time to do it justice the way Brian wore it."

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