Kearney opens up on ‘perfect’ stay with Western Force

REPRO FREE***PRESS RELEASE NO REPRODUCTION FEE*** EDITORIAL USE ONLY Premier Sports Event Ahead Of The United Rugby Championship, Dublin 21/9/2021 Premier Sports has announced that Irish rugby icon Rob Kearney will join its TV team for its live coverage of the new-look United Rugby Championship in Ireland. Kearney joins a star-studded line-up of Premier Sports pundits for its Irish rugby coverage including fellow former internationals Stephen Ferris and Andrew Trimble and alongside the talented and experienced TV team of Bernard Jackman, Graham Little, Mark Robson and lead Irish commentator Ryle Nugent. As Ireland’s most decorated player ever, Rob Kearney (93 caps) won four Six Nations titles, four Heineken Cups, six PRO 12/14 trophies and one European Challenge Cup plus was named 2012 European Rugby Player of the year. Kearney was also part of two Lions Tours in 2009 and 2013. He played for Leinster for 15 seasons with more than 200 appearances for his home province. Also new to the Premier Sports team in Ireland will be popular rugby presenter and podcast host Christina Mahon, who has a background in media and PR as well as a career as a community engagement manager for Rugby Players Ireland and brings great rugby contacts and knowledge to the team at Premier Sports. Premier Sports has also been awarded TV rights for the Republic of Ireland for the first time in the new era of the game-changing tournament expanding its coverage to bring together live coverage from each round to a wider rugby audience across the UK and Ireland. Premier Sports viewers can enjoy double delight high profile sport with Premier League action from 2.30pm this weekend as Leeds face West Ham before a URC double header as the Irish provinces met South African teams first up with Leinster v Bulls before Munster host Sharks. 
Premier Sports team on duty this weekend are: Graham Little, Rob Kearney and Bob Skinstad in studio with Ryle Nugent and Stephen Ferris on commentary at the Aviva, and Connor Morris and Alan Quinlan in Thomond Park. Premier Sports is part of the 'Sports Extra' pack that contains the BT Sport channels and LaLigaTV on the Sky platform giving customers an unbeatable range of sports to watch live Premier League games and every game live from the URC. Fans can also get access to Premier Sports on NOWTV with a Sports Extra Day or Month Pass.  Premier Sports has one of the most respected TV talent teams in the business - with a huge depth of knowledge and expertise with leading figures such as Stephen Ferris, Andrew Trimble, John Barclay, Jim Hamilton, Shane Williams and Tom Shanklin with 399 international caps between them - all involved in the new URC showcase. Pictured is Rob Kearney Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

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Irish Rugby legend Rob Kearney has spoken about his ‘perfect final six months’ while playing for Australian side Western Force

Ireland’s most decorated rugby player is in the twilight of his career after spending 15 years at provincial side Leinster. After over 200 competitive appearances for the club and nearly a century of caps for the Boys in Green he felt it was time to try something new.

Before returning to his boyhood Gaelic football club Cooley Kickhams for a few games, he spent six months down under playing for Western Force.

Speaking at a media event for the new season of rugby on Premier Sport yesterday, Kearney spoke about his short stay in Australia:

“I had a great time away in Australia. It was almost the perfect final six months for me to get away and I’d always planned to play outside Ireland, and I suppose the older I got and the longer my contracts with Leinster and the [Irish Rugby] Union went on, the less likely it became.”

The Louth man only managed eight caps while playing for the Perth club, scoring a single try against the Blues.

The accomplished defender noted the challenges when moving to the new club. He understood that Southern hemisphere rugby was more focused on attack than defense and he knew he could still improve in places.

“[If] you’re a 35-year-old fullback, the changes have already been made for you, I was down there very much with the mindset that aerial game, kicking game, backfield coverages was going to be the areas, to play my strengths,” added Kearney.

While in Australia, he also found some of the cultural differences to be a shock. Although the Wallabies have been a powerhouse in international rugby for many years, it is still not one of the more popular sports in the country.

Union rugby has to compete with the ASL, cricket, and emerging soccer to get more schoolboys and girls playing the game in the fields.

Because of this, Kearney understands the importance of the nation’s double victory of the Springbok, especially the home win on Saturday.

“It is very different, Rugby Union is very much down the pecking order, and you do feel for the Australians a little bit that the game is under real pressure there,” the rugby player added.

“That’s why that win at the weekend was huge for them, not just from that group of players but for the game as a whole in the country,”

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