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'Genuinely awful' - No fond farewell from rugby fans as Phil Kearns exits the commentary box, possibly for the last time

By Ian Cameron
Phil Kearns /Getty

When a commentator leaves his commentary box – possibly for the final time – generally you’d expect a certain amount of reverence, decorum and good will expressed by fans towards said party. Not in Phil Kearns’ case.


Fox Sports wrapped up their final Wallabies Test match after 25 years broadcasting the sport in Australia and the outspoken former hooker had been at the helm of their coverage much of that quarter-century.

Rugby fans however seemed more relieved that Kearns had finally stepped away from the mic. If truth be told, he’s become a figure that’s profoundly disliked by the sport’s fanbase. As an outspoken pundit, you’re always going to have your critics, yet Kearns etched out a career in which few if any fans ever have anything kind to say about the man.

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George Kruis discusses his future:
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George Kruis discusses his future:

And that’s what played out on Twitter, as Kearns called maybe his final game, as the Wallabies drew with Argentina at the Bankwest Stadium.

“Whenever anybody ever complains about Brian Moore, or Stuart Barnes on commentary…just be bloody grateful we don’t have to suffer through Rod Kafer and Phil Kearns every week!,” suggested one rugby account on Twitter.

“Last time a Fox commentary team will call an Aussie test match. I enjoy most of them but I certainly won’t miss Phil Kearns,” said another.


“As someone who admired Phil Kearns as a kid I hope that now Fox no longer have the union rights in Oz he never commentates again. Sounds outdated, biased & not fully up with the laws of the game,” said another account, which summed the more reasonable takes on Kearns’ commentary.

There were many, many more in a similar vein:


Kearns isn’t done with rugby yet of course. He could still reappear on another network as pundit or commentator but leaving that aside, his involvement with Australian Rugby isn’t about to let up. Quite the opposite in fact.

He was recently appointed the executive director of their Rugby World Cup 2027 Bid. Kearns, who played 67 Tests for Australia, will lead the Rugby World Cup Bid team in “engaging with Federal, State and Local Government as well as international stakeholders including World Rugby Member Unions”.

A Wallabies captain, Phil Kearns AM won two Rugby World Cups for Australia (1991 and 1999) before starting a hugely successful corporate career. Kearns has served as Chief Executive of insurance broker InterRISK Australia and Centric Wealth. Prior to that, Kearns worked with Investec’s Corporate Advisory and Capital Markets divisions. Kearns is also a Director of AV Jennings, Coolabah Capital and Venues NSW.


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