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George Hook Takes Aim At 'One-Trick Pony' Rob Kearney

George Hook Takes Aim At 'One-Trick Pony' Rob Kearney
By PJ Browne

George Hook has a fantasy about Irish rugby. It does not involve Rob Kearney.

Kearney had one of his better games of late for Ireland on Saturday. However, Hook feels the 29-year-old lacks the attack merits shown by some young players.

Hook also believes Jared Payne would be a far more exciting option at fullback.

Imagine McCloskey, Ringrose and Henshaw coming from the back. It’s fantasy stuff.

Speaking on Independent.ie's Six Nations coverage, Hook opined that Kearney is a 'one-trick pony', a player well-suited to the kicking style utilised by Joe Schmidt during his reign as Ireland head coach.

Saying Rob Kearney caught the ball; of course he caught the ball, that’s what he is paid for. Completely, one-trick pony. Absolutely, a one-trick pony and increasingly in his career. His career is coming to an end.

Henshaw demonstrated today what a fullback... or Payne, can you imagine him coming from the back? Can you imagine the kids in the middle of the field?

Given the performance of Robbie Henshaw at outside centre on Saturday, it is possible - should he recover from injury - that we will see Payne at fullback against Italy in two weeks time.

Even a Schmidt doubter such as Hook, who decries the New Zealander's conservatism, believes that should players such as McCloskey, Ringrose and Payne (at fullback) be selected for the remaining games, the Ireland head coach would not have them playing with the handbrake on.

If the coach - if Joe Schmidt made that kind of selection - he's not stupid, he is an international coach; if he picks that team, he's not going to turn around and say 'Well, we're not going to use any of them'.

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