Ireland test veteran Rob Kearney may be bringing an old-school skill with him to Super Rugby AU
A new era has begun at the Western Force, but Irish rugby legend Rob Kearney is doing his best to bring back an old-school treat – the torpedo.
Andrew Forrest saved the Force from extinction in 2017 and he has set out a series of ambitious targets for the franchise to achieve in the coming years.
The billionaire mining magnate wants the Force to become self sufficient within three years and is hoping for them to one day become the best club in world rugby.
The Force finished dead last with a 0-8 record in last year’s Super RugbyAU campaign, but an impressive recruiting spree has left them well placed to gate crash this year’s finals.
Kearney was just one of a host of big-name stars the Force were able to lure.
Argentinian internationals Tomas Cubelli, Tomas Lezana, Santiago Medrano and Domingo Miotti provide the Force with an X-factor, while Wallabies duo Tevita Kuridrani and Tom Robertson bring extra class and experience.
Kearney’s noted kicking game has already impressed his teammates at training.
The torpedo has become somewhat of a forgotten art in modern rugby, but the 34-year-old could unleash it among his bag of party tricks in Friday night’s season-opener against the Brumbies in Perth.
“He’s bringing back the torps,” Force skipper Ian Prior said of Kearney’s efforts at training.
“He’s obviously from the 90s generation. Before that everything has been about drop-punting but ever since he’s come on and hit a few torps at training, there’s been a few other young bucks that have been trying to knock him off with a few torps of their own.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 17, 2021
“Some have gone well, some haven’t.
“He knows what works and what doesn’t work. If that’s the most effective kick to use in that southerly wind that might be there tomorrow, then yeah go for it.
“He’s a world-class player. I’m looking forward to seeing the old greyhound out there.”
A sold-out crowd of about 10,000 is expected to turn out for Friday night’s match.
It will be the Force’s first Super game in Perth since July 15, 2017, when they knocked off the Waratahs 40-11 in what was their final game before being axed by Rugby Australia.
New Force chief executive Tony Lewis, who started earlier this month, said he was excited to take on the challenge of turning the franchise into a global powerhouse.
“Andrew’s vision is to build the best club in Australia, have the best academy structure in Australia, and as he said to the players before he wants to be the best team in the world and that starts with winning tomorrow night,” Lewis said.
The Brumbies won last year’s title and have been installed as the early favourites for 2021.
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