Rugby | 9 months ago
Three exciting options to take Rob Kearney's Ireland fullback spot
An attacking trio

Rob Kearney copped his upper arm injury while trying to poach ball from an Italian ruck, late in the game, on Saturday.

The Leinster and Ireland fullback nursed the arm through several more Italian phases as he filled the line with a severely clipped wing.

While Joe Schmidt initially suggested Kearney's injury was not as bad as first suspected, he will head for a scan on the arm and surgery is an optionThe Irish Independent has reported that there may be a fracture.

There is no official word from the IRFU as to Kearney's scan or a decision on the next step. However, were he to miss the France game on February 25, there are three decent options to take the 15 jersey.

Simon Zebo

Eight of Zebo's last 14 caps have been at fullback and he has also filled in here for Munster this season, with match-winning success. Brave and adept under the high ball, with searing pace, a poacher's instincts in attack and ever-improving defence, Zebo looks to be the favourite to replace Kearney.

With Andrew Trimble getting back to full fitness, and able to cover both wings, Zebo could slot back one with the minimum of disruption.


Tiernan O'Halloran

This is a more daring option but it would be interesting to see how O'Halloran takes his sensational provincial form onto the Test stage. Got two games over in South Africa but was poleaxed early in the final Test. Scored two tries against Canada and is the leading player for metres gained in the PRO12 and Champions Cup.

Andrew Conway

Conway is uncapped but Schmidt and his coaching staff have been reportedly impressed with his work-rate and willingness to learn during his time in national camp. Always looked upon as a fine attacking option, Conway's form has been great this season now that he is [relatively speaking] clear of injuries.

Episode 37 of The Hard Yards rugby podcast features Sam Warburton, Garry Ringrose and Rugby World's Paul Williams.

While you're here, check out the latest episode of #SportsJOElive where we had Irish legends Shay Given and Clinton Morrison on the couch!

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Ireland, Six Nations 2017, Rob Kearney