Rob Kearney's 22nd minute encounter with Michael Hooper was telling 4 years ago

Rob Kearney's 22nd minute encounter with Michael Hooper was telling

Well, now.

Rob Kearney went into the Second Test against Australia under pressure.

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A solid, successful season for Leinster and a key role in Ireland's Grand Slam victory [his second] was not enough to quell the calls for him to be either dropped or 'rested' for Melbourne.

The fullback had been outshone by Israel Folau in the 18-9 loss at Suncorp Stadium, and he held his hand up about a couple of costly errors at the end of the first half. Discussing the online criticisms of Kearney, onΒ The Hard Yards, former Munster and Ireland centre James Downey noted:

"We know what Rob does. Nothing against his performance. As you say, it was a small lapse and that was it.

"I know some people go after that. It's like [he is] the Mike Brown of Ireland. No... he's perfect and I'm happy with what he has done."

Joe Schmidt backed him, too, and Kearney delivered in Ireland's 26-21, series-levelling victory.He looked comfortable under the high ball, marshalled the backfield with calm authority and made 53 metres on his 12 carries.

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22 minutes into the game and Kearney demonstrated his awareness and strength in contact to leave Australian captain Michael Hooper reeling. Pouching a clearing kick, the Ireland 15 landed, set himself and dunted the openside flanker before darting in-field and taking a cut off Adam Coleman.

Credit: Sky Sports

This was the same Hooper that had wreaked havoc on Ireland in the First Test.

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Ireland were so much better in Melbourne than they were in Brisbane and they should have beaten the hosts by more than five points. Fans certainly appreciated the Kearney vs. Hooper moment.

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We're all looking forward to Round 3 in Sydney next weekend.