Rob Kearney has admitted that Joey Carbery's progression at fullback in his absence has 'given him the shits' as he approaches the twilight years of his career.
The 31-year-old has watched on from the stands during large spells of the season as Carbery has lit up the RDS and elsewhere in the same 15 shirt Kearney has owned for the majority of his 12-year career.
Speaking to Brendan O'Brien in The Irish Examiner yesterday, Kearney acknowledged that, while doubtless delighted to see a young teammate excel, watching his replacement impress to Carbery's extent has put him on edge regarding his own future:
It fuels your competitive edge.
It gives you the shits a bit as well about your own future. But I have missed a lot of games throughout my career and there have always been really good guys who have gone in and played the position so you always have a fight on your hands.
Kearney also admitted that it'll be tough to watch Munster in Saturday's PRO12 final versus Leinster's conquerors, the Scarlets, but maintained that it's important Leinster's players tune in for the league showpiece...not simply to offer their fellow countrymen support, however.
I won’t be there but, yeah, I will watch it and it’s important that everyone watches it.
Watching Munster coming up to Dublin and filling the Aviva out — and more than likely winning the competition — is tough viewing. You need hurt to fuel things going forward. That’ll be a tough thing to watch but, if it helps us in the long run, then so be it.
You can read Kearney's full interview, including his brutally honest assessment of his chances of being called up as a replacement for the Lions, in The Examiner.