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Ireland’s Kearney relishing Wales clashes

Ireland’s Kearney relishing Wales clashes

Rob Kearney insists there will be no holding back when a number of British and Irish Lions go head-to-head in this summer’s clashes between Ireland and Wales.

Rob Kearney insists there will be no holding back when a number of British and Irish Lions go head-to-head in this summer’s clashes between Ireland and Wales.

Kearney and his Ireland side face a double header against Wales, in Cardiff first up on August 8 before a clash in Dublin on August 29, as preparation for this year’s World Cup step up a notch.

The two countries already have a fierce rivalry including most recently in March as 15 points from the boot of fellow British and Irish Lion Leigh Halfpenny helped Wales beat Ireland 23-16 in Cardiff.

And full-back Kearney, who toured with the Lions in 2009 and 2013, insists the competition will be as fierce as ever when they meet again.

“They won’t be friendly at all, they’ll be full-on Test matches,” he told WalesOnline.

“But it’s a double-edged sword. These games do get you ready but at the same time, you don’t want injuries.

“It’s important to get match fitness up, put your hand up for selection and start to try and find your form.

“As soon as you come into round one of the tournament you can’t be chasing things – that’s why the warm-ups are so important.

“There will be players who will be there or thereabouts for the final squad and there’ll be some looking for form.

"That level of performance you saw from Wales and Ireland in the Six Nations, that gruesome battle for 80 minutes, you’ll see something similar again.”

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