Rob Kearney On The Huge Differences He Has Noticed In Southern Hemisphere Rugby

Down under.

Former Ireland and Leinster fullback Rob Kearney is settling into life in Australia with Western Force and is already noticing some major differences in southern hemisphere rugby.

The 34-year-old landed in Australia at the beginning of February having signed a short-term deal with the Super Rugby outfit following an incredible career with Ireland and Leinster.

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He made his debut for the Aussie side a few weeks back and is already making a name for himself down under, proving there’s plenty left in the ‘old dog’ yet – despite the fact that the game is much faster down south.

Speaking on Off The Ball AM this week, Kearney spoke about the major differences he has already noticed in Southern Hemisphere rugby, noting that he covered eight and a half kilometres in a game a couple of weeks ago which is more than he has covered in any game in the last two years.

“I think the New Zealanders are definitely taking it to a different level,” Kearney said on Monday’s OTB AM.

“It is all very much all-out attack and the amount of ball in play is a little bit higher.

“The speed and amount of running that you do [is much higher]. I think I covered maybe eight and a half kilometres in that game two weeks ago which I wouldn’t have covered in any game over the last two years.

“So, there is definitely an awful lot more running in it; there is a lot more high-speed running, which was probably the biggest area of difference that I would have noticed from back home.”

Kearney added that players are encouraged to take much more risks in Super Rugby with the dry weather playing a huge role.

“It is still the same game,” Kearney said.

“You are encouraged to take a lot more risks.

“If you throw the ball and it doesn’t come off, it is not really too much of a worry to the coaches; they want you to try all of that sort of stuff.

“You might not get away with it at international level, but certainly in the games that I have seen and been involved in, they don’t really care as much about mistakes.

“You are encouraged to take those 60-40 chances, whereas back home you would be encouraged not to take a 50-50.”

“The dry ball and the conditions do make a huge difference.”

“When you are playing with wet and greasy balls, it does make it an awful lot harder to try and play that type of game.”