New Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has named the first squad of his tenure and Rob Kearney heads the list of omissions. 

ADVERTISEMENT

A 45-man squad is set to meet before Christmas in what is a new era after Joe Schmidt. 

The 33-year-old full-back has had a Test career that has spanned over twelve years, but many suspected that the World Cup may have been his last hurrah in green. 

After amassing 95 caps for his country, as well as three for the British and Irish Lions, fans on social media are marking this as the end to an era. 

There was a legitimate case during – and certainly since – the World Cup that Kearney’s 22-year-old Leinster team-mate Jordan Larmour is now the best full-back in Ireland. 

(Continue reading below…)

Video Spacer
ADVERTISEMENT

However, when it came to the crunch matches in Japan, Schmidt turned to the player he depended on in the No15 shirt throughout his tenure. 

However, Farrell’s judgement has not be clouded by such a bond and at the beginning of a new RWC cycle, he may have made the decision to look to the new generation, given that Kearney will be 37 come the next RWC finals. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Some fans have described him as Ireland’s greatest full-back, as he has been at the heart of all their success since his debut against Argentina in 2007, which includes two Grand Slams, two further Six Nations titles, as well as Ireland’s historic wins over the All Blacks. 

 

Of course, the door may not be completely closed on the Leinster player as this is not the definitive squad for the Six Nations. 

But with his starts for his province expected to be less frequent this season, particularly after the RWC, he may find it hard to work his way back into the reckoning. The question is whether he can rely on his reputation. 

WATCH: Scotland rugby legend Gavin Hastings surprises one of Glasgow Warriors’ longest-serving fans, Eric Graham, by giving him a lift to Scotstoun for a match in a Land Rover Discovery

Video Spacer

Mailing List

Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.

Sign Up Now