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Rob Kearney Points Out A Key Selection In The Irish XV For The World Cup Warm Ups

Rob Kearney Points Out A Key Selection In The Irish XV For The World Cup Warm Ups
By Colman Stanley Updated
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Andy Farrell's Ireland World Cup training squad is the epitome of tried and trusted, and continuity.

Every player selected has been involved in previous squads, while three of the uncapped players have played for Ireland A.

There were many calls for more Munster players to be brought it, given their URC success, with Mike Haley one of those mentioned. Indeed, he had a particularly good case given that he has been the second best Irish fullback for two seasons.

However, he has not been selected by Farrell in previous squads, and thus was not a surprising omission.

This leaves Jimmy O'Brien, a utility back, as the second choice 15, and winger Mack Hansen as the likely back-up in the first choice match day 23.

Jimmy O'Brien did start at 15 in November against Fiji, but given how difficult and specialised the role is, it would be wise for Andy Farrell to use the World Cup warm ups to give O'Brien extended minutes in the position.

Rob Kearney Speaks A Lot Of Sense On Ireland's Fullback Situation

20 May 2023; Jimmy O'Brien of Leinster, left, celebrates with teammate Caelan Doris after scoring their side's second try during the Heineken Champions Cup Final match between Leinster and La Rochelle at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

READ HERE: Joe Biden Makes ‘Black And Tans’ Blunder When Praising Rob Kearney

Rob Kearney, Ireland's greatest ever fullback and a stalwart of the side for a decade, echoed these thoughts, and pointed out that the position differs significantly from provincial to international level.


You'd probably like to see a number two who has had a lot of exposure to playing the position.

It's a very, very different position in top level, international rugby than it is at provincial level.

If I had to guess I'd say Jimmy is number two at the moment, so I'd like to see him get opportunities in the summer Tests in terms of starting and finishing there.


"International rugby is a different game," added Kearney.

"The Champions Cup final is pitched at that level and we saw the importance of the position there - the kicking game becomes so much more important.

"If the opposition are kicking a lot, your backfield coverage and defence has to be right on the money, otherwise you're kicking under pressure.


"And as we saw in that final, when you're kicking under pressure, mistakes happen, you slice a ball, you kick it directly into touch and it's a big win for the opposition.

"So it's such a specialised and important position."

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