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Kearney signs on with IRFU

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'There are goals I still want to achieve with both Leinster and Ireland next season'

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Rob Kearney have agreed a contract extension that will see the full-back continue to play in Ireland until the end of the 2019/20 season.

Kearney, who has won 90 caps to date for his country, made his international debut against Argentina in June 2007 and played a central role in two Grand Slam campaigns (2009 and 2018) as well as two further Six Nations Championship successes (2014 and 2015).

Kearney featured prominently in both victories over New Zealand (2016 and 2018) and played in all three Tests of the successful series win over Australia in the summer of 2018.

Since making his senior debut for Leinster in 2005 he has gone on to represent the province on 209 occasions winning four Heineken Cups, a Challenge Cup and five Celtic League/Guinness PRO rugby titles.

Kearney has represented Ireland at two Rugby World Cups (2011 and 2015) and is a two-time Lions tourist (2009 and 2013) playing in all three Tests on the South Africa tour.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora said: “Rob has contributed a huge amount to Irish rugby and has performed at a high level again this year for Ireland and Leinster.  We are delighted that he will continue his career in Ireland in what will be his 15th season as a senior pro.”

Kearney commented: “I’m feeling pretty good about where I am physically and mentally after a long season which has contained a few lows but also some massive highs.

“There are goals I still want to achieve with both Leinster and Ireland next season but I will enjoy a couple of weeks off now before getting stuck into what will be a hugely exciting season for Irish rugby.”

The IRFU’s hardball tactics has left Kearney’s future in limbo amid speculation that would be forced to leave for a Top 14 club post-World Cup.

 

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A rumoured move to France is looking more and more likely for the Irish full-back after contract negotiations fell short of expectation… #IrishRugby #RobKearney #FrenchTop14 #RugbyGram

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With Joe Schmidt moving on from the national team after Japan, it appeared the status of a player who featured in just four of Ireland’s nine matches this season was in a serious state of flux that was also reflected at Leinster where there have been big games he has not been selected to start.

It was Sean O’Brien who let slip in a social media message some weeks ago that France was Kearney’s likely destination and the veteran’s inability to win the IRFU around to what he believes is his market value was further highlighted by his name being missing from Leinster’s lengthy midweek list of contract renewals for next season last week in the lead-up to the PRO14 final.

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'There are goals I still want to achieve with both Leinster and Ireland next season'