Kearney staying put

Lions Test star Rob Kearney has given Ireland a huge boost ahead of Saturday's clash with England after agreeing a new two-year contract with the IRFU. [more]

Kearney staying put

Lions Test star Rob Kearney has given Ireland a huge boost ahead of Saturday’s clash with England after agreeing a new two-year contract with the IRFU.

Kearney, who featured in all three internationals for the Lions in South Africa four years ago, has opted against following Jonathan Sexton out of Ireland and has instead committed himself to Heineken Cup holders Leinster.

Sexton’s decision to leave Leinster and head to the Top 14 with an unnamed side thought to be Racing Metro had prompted fears that a mass exodus might be on the horizon but things look a lot rosier for Ireland now after Kearney joined prop forwards Cian Healy and Mike Ross in deciding to stay put.

The 26-year-old had reportedly been negotiating a new deal for a number of months so to have finally put pen to paper before the mouth-watering RBS 6 Nations encounter with the English will no doubt be a relief for both the player and the union.

Kearney is contracted to the IRFU and Leinster until the end of the 2014/15 season and can now concentrate on winning a spot on a second successive Lions tour this summer.

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"I'm delighted to be continuing my rugby career in Ireland," said Kearney, who scored the Lions’ first try in the heartbreaking second Test defeat to the Springboks in 2009.

"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."

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