After Jonathan Sexton’s departure to France, the much-feared exodus of Ireland’s top rugby players was dealt a significant blow with confirmation that Leinster and Ireland full-back Rob Kearney has agreed a new contract with the IRFU.
The two year contract will keep the Co. Louth native on Irish soil until the end of the 2014/15 season and, speaking to www.irishrugby.ie, CEO Philip Browne was adamant the signature of Kearney would act as a sign of the organisations continued efforts in keeping Ireland’s brightest talents at home.
“We are delighted that a player of Rob’s caliber will be remaining within the structures of Irish Rugby and it is an indication of the efforts that we are making to keep as many of our players at home for the benefit of the provinces and Irish Rugby as a whole.”
Kearney spoke about his loyalty and fortunate experiences playing with so many top players for Leinster as one of the main reasons behind the Lions player’s desire to stay in Ireland.
“I’m delighted to be continuing my rugby career in Ireland. Leinster Rugby has always been my home and I am very excited to be remaining here to play with a great bunch of players and coaching staff. I have been very lucky to have experienced success with that same group over the last number of years and with the great support we have, it made it a very easy decision for me.
Leinster Coach Joe Schmidt commented:
“After being named ERC player of the year in 2012 Rob has had a few frustrations with injury in the first half of this season but he has added genuine value since returning to the side in early January. From the Leinster Academy through to the Senior team and on to the international stage with Ireland and then the Lions in South Africa, Rob has shown his tremendous rugby ability and genuine drive to keep progressing so it’s great that he’ll be continuing with Leinster in the years to come.”
The 26 year old’s staggered season through injury looks to be finally over as a starring performance in Ireland’s recent win over the 2012 Six Nations winners Wales, showed the 6’1 full back is back to his best.