Rob Kearney is no stranger to the Sea of Blue - Green and Gold Rugby
Western Force

Rob Kearney is no stranger to the Sea of Blue

Rob Kearney is no stranger to the Sea of Blue

Earlier this week we saw the major announcement of Irish international rugby star and his departure from the mighty blue of Leinster to travel the world and find home with another set of rugby fans known as the Sea of Blue and The WESTERN Force

Who is Rob Kearney?

He is 34 years of age, Leinster and IRUPA Players Player of the year 2012. 95 caps for Ireland and made his debut against Argentina in 2007. His list of achievements for Ireland and Leinster are unmatched with his international record being 2 Grand slams and 4 six nations and he has been selected for the Lions tour twice.

So what will Rob Kearney bring to the table at the Western force,

Pros

He’s a genuine world class starting 15

Rob Kearney is not coming to WA to sit on the bench he will take the no 15 jersey from Jack McGregor etc. Kearney brings with him a massive left foot and will help improve the Western Forces kicking game especially for example, against the Tahs when really needed a strong left foot experienced tactical kicker.  Rob will also be a mentor for the younger players like the talented young Jack McGregor who needs to increase his physicality and game awareness.  And with the signing of Godwin, Kuridrani and now Kearney this is really shaping into an impressive backline and definitely ups the defensive capabilities which proved to be somewhat lacking this year in superugby au.

Cons

There may be a possibility that Kearney is past his sell by date in the speed department? Will he be able to keep up with the side to side running game of super rugby versus the northern hemisphere. He also recently seems prone to injury with recurring hamstring string issues.

I think he will  play a similar role to that of Scott Fardy after he left the Brumbies for Leinster around four years ago and has been praised for the development of such players as James Ryan and the list of upcoming back row talent.  It will be interesting to see how this Northern Hemisphere star plays within this southern hemisphere rugby be it super rugby or GRR or NCR.

So why did Rob Kearney choose Perth and the Western Force? I think it’s clear to everyone that we have a billionaire backing our side. But also we should look at the Irish and expat community Rob Kearney can harness and bring to the Force.

Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald – could he head back to the west?

I cannot finish this article bout talking about the Irish community in Perth. We are a strong sport loving community. With the annual St Patricks day event drawing at least 40,000 of expat community into the city of Vincent every year. Perth Irish rugby club has recently been formed and are doing a steller job. The work Gillian Forde who is on the Rugby WA board has been doing to keep the Irish club alive has been awesome.

There is also the Cooley connection with the McDonald Family living in Perth. Young Michael is currently over in New South Wales but this could be the perfect opportunity you bring him home to WA.

Just to let you know Rob that we are so delighted you have decided to call Perth home for a while.

Now to the Western Force SEA OF BLUE  I always sign off my writing with reference to the most important people in the game, “the fans” who have so much pride and passion for their blue jersey, their town and State of Western Australia So from the Sea of Blue in Western Australia, Rob Kearney we are so glad you and your Fiancee are going to call WA home.

Cead Mile Failte.

 

  • Tim

    They should be trying to buy Aussie players back from overseas. He is a good player but biggest concern is what you raised he might be to slow or injuries could derail the end of his career.

    • Nutta

      Yes and no. The Forcies need class players to compete – tick. They need mature players to balance the young & keen – tick. They need leaders to develop the squad – tick. To your point, all that could be found in an Aussie coming home for sure.

      But the local brand also needs constant new weapons/faces to combat the overwhelming-ness (no such word but you know what I’m driving at) of AFL to move it out of the ex-pat and periphery shadows a bit. So a world-player of a world-game with a fun accent and a massive boot (something the AFL types will note) brings marketing play/opportunity. It’s not massive or decisive, but it’s definitely an element he brings. He will get the Forcies more local media and public interest traction than just another otherwise-no-name Aussie returning from Japan or similar.

      From what i hear he is not a knob so provided he can stay fit and gets engaged off the field he will be a real asset i reckon.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        Plus, if he can draw some of those 40,000 pairs of Irish eyeballs (in Perth alone) to the Force games, that might be worthwhile.

  • JJ

    Another great write-up Karen. I love your enthusiasm for all things rugby, WA and blue.

    I back the judgement and planning of Force coach Sampson and rugby director Hodgo in building us a winning team. They got it right in 2019 and won the NRC and GRR for us. An ageing All Black Jeremy Thrush has turned out to be a great signing.

    In 2020, our NRC/GRR strength Force team was thrown into the deep end of Super rugby at very short notice due to Covid19. They played every game away from home and got pretty close to winning a few of their games.
    With these new recruits doing a full pre-season, with the Force and hopefully playing at least half their games in Perth in 2021, the Force will be a force.

    • Jessie Houle

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  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Well written Karen and I’m sure he’s going to be of real value to the Force and Perth rugby in general. This is a great signing

  • Alister Smith

    Perth Girl commented yesterday on Deegan leaving for Japan and said she thought there was a risk of him becoming a journeyman. Now I think when he made his decision to leave for Melbourne the outlook was significantly different to what it had become later. But, as she said, think of the opportunity he would have had this year and now, think of the opportunity he would get as a squad member sharing games with Rob Kearney. There is probably nothing he could have done about it, it is just the way the ball bounced but he has missed some great opportunities.

  • Moz

    Another great article Karen!!!
    Really interested in finding out who else the Force will be signing over the next few weeks/months. I’m curious if the Force and Rebels are competing for some of the same players overseas.

  • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

    Great article Karen.

    “NZ Rugby is also believed to have reached an agreement with Andrew Forrest’s Global Rapid Rugby for the Western Force to potentially join the New Zealand competition from 2022.”

    Very interesting….at least we have a lifeline independent of RA from 2022 and onwards.

    • Gun

      Maybe the Force players can play for NZ.

    • LBJ

      That’s fine, and understandable – but they need to be aware that none of their players will be eligible for Wallabies (except via Giteau rule).

Western Force
@WomenInSportWA

Physical Education teacher, fan engagement enthusiast, Western Force and Leinster Rugby fan and also an advocate for women in sport.

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