Rob Kearney To Continue Playing With New Club Following Leinster & Ireland Exit
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The rugby world has been paying tribute to fullback Rob Kearney over the last few days and rightly so – but while he will be exiting Leinster and Ireland, the 34-year-old is not retiring and will continue to play on with a new club.
As reported back in April and confirmed today by the Irish Independent, Kearney is set to announce his next destination in the coming days with the veteran not yet ready to hang up his boots despite a glittering, trophy-laden career.
Where he is going remains to be seen but Kearney has been linked with a move to the Top 14 in recent months, with the MLR in America perhaps another option for the 34-year-old.
Speaking back in April, Kearney made his intentions clear.
“I did want to go on playing next season and I still do,” Kearney told the Irish Times
“Physically I’m still in very good shape and I still love the game. I have been looking for some other options outside of Ireland but obviously now, during this crisis, everything is off the table and it’s a massive waiting game.
“But at the same time, I’ve been blessed to have had the career that I’ve had. I’ve gotten so much from the game, it doesn’t owe me anything. So if it did have to come to a halt at the end of July, obviously it would be an unbelievably disappointing way to have to finish up, but I think I would still be very content with what the game has given me over the last 15 years.”
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Episode 6 has arrived. 🎙 – Jason & Jamie Heaslip discuss Leinster's defeat to Saracens and why there's no need to push the panic button. 🛑 – Jacob Stockdale's defence and the magic of Cheslin Kolbe. 🔥 – BJ Botha on his new coaching role, his plans for the future and how Munster and Ulster are feeling after a disappointing few weeks. 👊🏻 – Rugby's financial woes and what the game needs to do to survive. 😢 – Rugby vs the Media. 👀 – And much more. You know what to do. 🎧 Available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and more.
In an open letter to Irish Rugby fans today, Kearney bid farewell to the blue and green jerseys and thanked everyone for an incredible career on the Emerald Isle.
“You never get to write the script, but if I could, it would go as far as a packed RDS or Aviva in front of thousands of Leinster and Irish rugby supporters where I would have had the opportunity to thank you all,” Kearney said.
“The Leinster and Ireland supporters’ role in this journey has been special and running out in front of full stadia is what gives the greatest buzz and we have all missed that over the last few months and you appreciate it all the more now playing in empty arenas.”
“Losing to Saracens brought my time in a Leinster jersey and by extension an Irish jersey to an end. I spoke to the players in the dressing room after the game and I spoke about living a dream because that is what I have done.
“I have lived the dream of every five-year-old boy or girl out there that dreams of pulling on a Leinster jersey, an Ireland jersey, a Lions jersey.”
*UPDATE: The Irish Independent are now reporting that Kearney is set to sign for Australian side the Western Force in a surprise move.