Wednesday 13 December 2017

Kearney won't be fazed by French noise

Rory Best
Rory Best
Rob Kearney

Rob Kearney has risen above the petulance offered up for print by France this week by making it all about what happens on the field.

"We won't be fazed," said Kearney.

"There's a huge amount of experience in this team and we've played in some massive occasions before."

There is an element of boredom about the phoney verbal war emanating from the French in what has been on orchestrated attack, centring around Jonathan Sexton.

"We've been exposed to hype and chat from the opposition plenty of times," stated the full-back.

"I'd like to think we're all mature enough now and long enough in the game now to cope."

"It's 15 on 15 for 80 minutes and everything else around that is just unnecessary noise that will have no effect on the outcome."


Kearney wants Ireland to 'give it a lash' in the same way Martin O'Neill's men did to down Germany on Thursday.

"It was great to see the Aviva full and everyone cheering," he said.

"Shane Long produced an unbelievable finish to bring us back to Jack Charlton's days of 'kick it long and have a go'.

"But, to beat the world champions at home was an incredible achievement for them.

"Hopefully, now it's set up a great weekend for Irish sport."

Indeed, the long ball might be replaced by high balls from Conor Murray and Sexton at The Millennium Stadium as the aerial route has been a trademark of Joe Schmidt's Ireland.

"Our high-ball game is part of our approach most weekends.It's won us a lot of games," said Kearney.

"Opposition teams know it's coming when they play Ireland, so we have to be better at that now they know it's coming on a weekly basis.

"They've picked two full-backs to deal with that as well, so we've got to be strong in that regard.

"But, we've got three full-backs in our back-three. All of us have played there at some point in their career."

The advantage of a small nation is that bonds are easily made all along the road from Malin Head to Mizen Head.

This was embellished further by the presence of Irish sporting greats AP McCoy, Barry McGuigan, Sonia O'Sullivan, Niall Quinn and Henry Shefflin at Celtic Manor during the week.

"It was brilliant to meet those five: there were great stories and good chats," he added.

"There's something special about Irish people with the massive level of colloquialism that we have.

"Bringing all those Irish icons over to us in Wales brought all that right back.

"It was a great touch: a big thing this week is about being Irish.

"And that helped build it."

What Ireland have built, they have no intention of France pulling it asunder.

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