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Rob Kearney's future at Leinster

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PRO 14    

Rob Kearney's Leinster future hangs in the balance

Rob Kearney’s future at Leinster – the club he’s spent his entire professional career at – will be decided in the ‘next few weeks’.

Kearney’s IRFU contract runs out after the Rugby World Cup this Autumn.

The Leinster fullback told RugbyPass that he currently has ‘no news’ on a potential exit from the province, but he was hoping to ‘make some headway on it’ in the next couple of weeks, suggesting a move away from Leinster may not be a foregone conclusion.

Behind the scenes Kearney and his agent will be dealing with the notoriously ruthless David Nucifora. Nucifora effectively let fellow veteran Sean O’Brien depart for London Irish, refusing to offer the backrow even a quarter of his reported £450,000 pound paycheck at his new club.

Kearney’s playing future has been subject of plenty of speculation with his IRFU contract due to expire at the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Kearney has been almost ever-present in the number 15 jersey with Ireland during the Joe Schmidt era, however he wasn’t selected for Ireland’s Six Nations opener with England based on his form after returning from injury, with Robbie Henshaw selected instead.

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The 33-year-old did return for Ireland’s next game against Scotland and retained the jersey for the rest of the Championship, bar his late withdrawal due to injury in the penultimate game against France.

A picture and caption in an Instagram story by Sean O’Brien at Leinster’s awards ball last week increased speculation over Kearney’s future. The backrow posted “Best of luck in France chieftain been a pleasure”.

The 33-year-old has ruled out retirement.

O’Brien, Jack McGrath, Noel Reid, Mick Kearney, Nick McCarthy, Ian Nagle and Tom Daly are all confirmed to depart Leinster at the end of the season.

O’Brien is moving to London Irish, McGrath joining Ulster, while Noel Reid has signed for Leicester.

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Rob Kearney's Leinster future hangs in the balance