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Kearney content with more defensive role

Kearney content with more defensive role

While British and Irish Lion Rob Kearney admits he can no longer attack with the freedom he once enjoyed, the fullback insists he relishes the chance to test his defensive capabilities.

While British and Irish Lion Rob Kearney admits he can no longer attack with the freedom he once enjoyed, the fullback insists he relishes the chance to test his defensive capabilities.

Kearney, a veteran of two Lions tours including the 2-1 series win against Australia in 2013, has not claimed a try in international rugby in over a year.

Yet that scoring drought has coincided with a triumphant period for Ireland, with the 29-year-old at the heart of a series of impressive defensive performances.

And Kearney insists he is happy to play a more solid than eye-catching role to help guide both club and country to glory.

“Maybe I’m wrong with this and I sometimes debate this with myself, but a lot of people when you think of a fullback he has to be the cornerstone of their attacking and everything has to go through him,” Kearney told the Irish Times.

“When I think fullback, 51 per cent of me thinks ‘goalkeeper’ – the other 49 per cent is like ‘okay, when we’re attacking you’ve got to go forward.’

“But I think it’s more important to think ‘okay, I’m looking after everything at the back and I need to give everybody else confidence.’

“It’s getting increasingly difficult to do it off scrum and against defences it’s becoming harder to get two or three passes away to those outside channels before you get man and ball.

“So that’s taken a little bit of emphasis away from my attacking game. And you can’t buy a line break now for love nor money.”

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