Kearney kicking on

Rob Kearney reckons he is peaking at just the right time to make a positive contribution on his second British & Irish Lions Tour. [more]

Kearney kicking on

Rob Kearney reckons he is peaking at just the right time to make a positive contribution on his second British & Irish Lions Tour.

The 27-year-old full back appears to be finding his best form as Leinster look to add the RaboDirect PPRO12 title to their Amlin Challenge Cup crown before The Lions head to Hong Kong and Australia next Monday.

Kearney began the season as a firm favourite for a Lions berth but a troublesome back injury disrupted his year before Ireland’s frustrating Championship campaign threatened to leave him on the back foot as the summer adventure drew closer.

But Kearney has since showed his class with a string of fine performances and he is hopeful that will run will continue Down Under.

"Hopefully there's a good few weeks of rugby left in me yet," Kearney told The Irish Independent.

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"I feel as if I'm slowly starting to get there. It's all about timing when you have big tours like this at the end of the season.

"Once you get to June, guys' form in January and February is forgotten about. You have to be backing up at the right moment in time.

"So things are starting to go on an upward curve for me. Now it's just important for me to maintain that level of consistency and make sure things aren't being forced.

"It's a matter of trying to gradually build things and bring everything together."

Kearney insists he tried not to think too much about selection for a second Tour four years after featuring in all three Tests in South Africa.

The Irishman was a sensation against the Springboks, replacing Lee Byrne in the first Test before starting the second and third internationals and scoring the opening try in the heart-breaking defeat at Loftus Versfeld.

He knew Lions coaches Warren Gatland, Rob Howley, Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree would therefore most likely be watching to see if he could repeat that form over the past six months or so but he tried to focus on his role with Leinster, something he intends to do one last time at the RDS this Saturday.

"The coaches have been watching since December. So every game you play is an audition of some sort,” added Kearney, whose province have lost the last three PRO12 finals.

"But as soon as you get overly focused on outside elements, like getting selected for other things, it can play up on you a little bit. That's when you can start losing your focus.

"While it's always in the back of your mind that you need to have a strong performance, it can't really be at the forefront of your thinking.

“Getting up for two finals in a row is a difficult thing. But one thing we’ve done…you have to learn from these things. Last year we won the Heineken Cup the week before the Rabo and then we lost. We were left with a pretty sick feeling.”

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