Robert Kearney is Ireland's leading star past the halfway point in the Six Nations
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2012 at 02:08 PM
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This year has been a total contrast for the Leinster full back as he has led the Irish team with three very impressive performances in the 15 jersey. Kearney is obviously fully fit and back to his very best after overcoming knee surgery which hampered his season last year.
Without Geordan Murphy in the squad, Kearney is Ireland's only true fullback available for selection this year. That doesn't mean that Kearney doesn't deserve his place however.
His form in this year's tournament has made him clearly the most in-form full back in the tournament while the argument that he is the best in the world at his position right now isn't a foolish one.
Kearney's recent form is reminiscent of what he produced earlier in his career. While his intelligence and awareness is a constant, his ability to get around the field has returned with his fitness over the past two years.
A combination of a field changing kicking game, consistent tackling and unnatural dominance under the high ball has set Kearney apart. Against France in the team's recent 17-17 draw, Kearney also flashed some of the attacking potential which he had promised earlier in his career.
While his intelligence, tackling and stability makes him a good defensive full back, his ability to make game-changing breaks and set players free with his passing is what has set him apart as an attacker.
Kearney was easily the man of the match in Paris, despite the fact that Tommy Bowe scored two tries and the Irish back-row had an incredible day as a unit. With Kearney at fullback, Bowe and Andrew Trimble on the wings and Keith Earls just outside of Jonathan Sexton and Connor Murray, Ireland have a huge amount of young talent available for selection.
Despite already amounting 36 caps for Ireland, over 100 appearances for Leinster and three Lions appearances, Kearney is still only 25 and essentially in the childhood of his career.
Therefore, while Tommy Bowe continues to do his best impression of Ruud Van Nistelrooy on the rugby field, and Stephen Ferris is toppling anything within his radius like a wrecking ball, Rob Kearney's return to full fitness makes him the star man for Ireland so far.
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