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Rob Kearney has tweeted he will retire after the Barbarians match

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ex-Ireland international Rob Kearney has tweeted that next Saturday’s match for the Barbarians versus Samoa at Twickenham will be his last game of rugby as he will retire from playing at the age of 35 following a stellar career that included 95 caps for his country, another three with the Lions and multiple club honours with Leinster.


Having signed off at Leinster when featuring in their September 2020 PRO14 final win over Ulster, Kearney signed for Western Force and played eight times for them in the two Super Rugby tournaments they participated in during 2021. 

Kearney has since returned to Ireland, doing some TV rugby punditry and playing some Gaelic football for Cooley Kickhams in his native Co Louth, and he has now announced that next Saturday’s fixture at Twickenham will officially bring the curtain down on his rugby career. 

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“It’s always been a dream to play for the @Barbarian_FC and what a historic team to play your last game of rugby with, grateful for the opportunity,” he wrote on social media, drawing a line under a career in which he was first capped by Ireland on their 2007 tour to Argentina two years after making his Leinster debut as a teenager.  

Kearney was named at the start of the week as one of the 24 players assembling with the Barbarians for a game where the squad will be coached by Dave Rennie, the Wallabies boss who is relying on a backbone of Australians for the fixture.

Pete Samu, Rob Leota and Nic White are just some of the Wallabies who are staying on an extra week in the UK following an Autumn Nations Series that ended in a defeat to Wales last Saturday. Springboks such as Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Duane Vermeulen are also included in the squad for a match that will give the retiring Kearney his dream send-off.

It’s an important week for the Barbarians as they seek to rebuild their reputation following last year’s debacle where a selection led by ex-England skipper Chris Robshaw broke the bubble restrictions that were in place, resulting in the embarrassing cancellation of the planned match versus England.     


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