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.
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.
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!
That was painful
— Lineout Nause (@LineoutNause) December 5, 2020
“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.
Last time a Fox commentary team will call and Aussie test match. I enjoy most of them but I certainly won't miss Phil Kearns
— Morne (@Mud_n_Guts) December 5, 2020
“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 Sounds outdated, biased & not fully up with the laws of the game,” said another account, which summed the more reasonable takes on Kearns’ commentary.
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 Sounds outdated, biased & not fully up with the laws of the game. #AUSvARG
— Mark D (@Atticus_75) December 5, 2020
There were many, many more in a similar vein:
Another day another commentators beaming the sport that allows him to earn a crust….
Yes, its phil kearns
— thedeadballarea (@thedeadballarea) December 5, 2020
I’m sure Twitter will tell me otherwise but I can’t think of a worse commentator in rugby union than Phil Kearns. Unashamedly biased and hopelessly out of touch #AUSvARG
— Jamie Phillips (@JNPhillips4) December 5, 2020
I really enjoyable game so far.
It’s been horrendous if you take Phil Kearns’ word for it.
Really isn’t great to have someone moaning the entire time on commentary.
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) December 5, 2020
Ref stops the clock to talk to Front Rows. Phil Kearns "if you want to talk to them you have to stop the clock. He's eating up time with only 8 minutes to go." He hasn't even noticed the clock was stopped. He is clueless. #AUSvARG
— Doug the Prop? (@DougProp) December 5, 2020
Have to laugh ? at Phil Kearns – he just can’t accept any decision that goes against his team. As one eyed as any I’ve ever heard
— G-Mac (@GreggMac11) December 5, 2020
Peter Drury is one of the world's best sports commentary because he genuinely loves his job, football and puts in the hard work necessary to paint a word picture.
Phil Kearns on the other hand makes commentary seem like an eternal punishment that he has been cursed with.
— Dylan Jack (@dylanmattjack) December 5, 2020
Kearns just showed why I’m happy he doesn’t have a job after this #AUSvARG
— Brumbies Boy (@brumby_fan) December 5, 2020
— Jem Nash (@JemNash95) December 5, 2020
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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