Ireland inspired by England rivalry says Rob Kearney


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The Independent Online

Rob Kearney insists Ireland will feed off their enduring rivalry with England when they clash in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations showdown at Twickenham.

The Irish are determined to celebrate St Patrick's Day by continuing their mastery of a fixture that has seen them win seven of the last eight championship meetings.

Kearney states the only motivation needed by Ireland, who will finish runners-up if they succeed on Saturday, is the knowledge they are facing the English.

"England is the one match we all love and it is the one, being Irish, you get excited for," the 25-year-old said.

"The fact it's on St Patrick's Day just adds a little more spice to it.

"That huge rivalry we have with England will still be there in 50 years' time.

"It's something we have built into us as Irish people and it's important to try to use that to our advantage this weekend.

"In the build-up to the game we won't speak about the rivalry, but some things don't need to be said.

"That's not to say there's not rivalry against all the other teams because there is, but there's something about England fixtures that just spices things up."

Ireland have also won on three of their previous four visits to Twickenham and Kearney insists their dominance of the fixture is purely because they are a superior team.

"If you are winning so many games against them it probably means you're a better side," the Lions and Leinster full-back said.

"I'd like to think that trend will continue on Saturday and that we remain the better side.

"England are probably outdoing themselves in this Six Nations in terms of the expectation levels they had coming into the competition.

"They have an inexperience side and an inexperienced coaching panel as well, but they've outdone themselves and that victory in France showed what they can offer."

Ireland are the Six Nations' most clinical side by some margin, fashioning 13 tries with Wales the next highest scorers on nine.

But frustratingly their title hopes, already battered by losing to the Welsh on the opening weekend, were extinguished with their stalemate against France.

"When I hear a stat like that, what jumps out at me is our discipline and defensive errors," Kearney said.

"We know we lost the Welsh game because of a poor defensive display and France kicked more penalties than we did."