RUGBY WORLD CUP: Ireland’s Rob Kearney unfazed by French ‘noise’

Ireland's Rob Kearney
Ireland's Rob Kearney

Rob Kearney has brushed off French attempts to destabilise Ireland’s build-up to Sunday’s vital World Cup clash as “unnecessary noise”.

France have branded Ireland hot favourites for the Pool D decider, openly placed a target on fly-half Johnny Sexton’s back and admitted aiming to “unnerve” their opponents’ kicking game.

Kearney must counter France fielding two regular full-backs in their back-three, with Brice Dulin on the wing and Scott Spedding at 15.

The Leinster full-back remained unmoved amid what he considers hot air emanating from the France camp however, backing Ireland to stick to boss Joe Schmidt’s rock-solid approach.

“We won’t be fazed,” said Kearney.

“There’s a huge amount of experience in this team and we’ve played in some massive occasions before.

“We’ve been exposed to hype and chat from the opposition plenty of times.

“I’d like to think we’re all mature enough now and long enough in the game now to cope.

“It’s 15 on 15 for 80 minutes, and everything else around that is just unnecessary noise that will have no effect on the outcome.

“Our high-ball game is part of our approach most weekends, it’s won us a lot of games.

“Opposition teams know it’s coming when they play Ireland, so we have to be better at that now they know it’s coming on a weekly basis.

“They’ve picked two full-backs to deal with that as well, so we’ve got to be strong in that regard.

“But we’ve got three full-backs in our back-three, all of us have played there at some point in their career.”

Sunday’s victors at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium will top Pool D and face Argentina in the last eight, avoiding New Zealand in the process.