Wales v Ireland - RBS Six NationsRock-solid under the high ball and possessing a siege-gun boot, Ireland have a gem of a full-back in Rob Kearney.

The 6ft 1in Kearney has established himself in the No 15 jersey to such an extent that he is now an automatic selection for Ireland coach Joe Schmidt.

Having grown up on a steady diet of Gaelic football before turning his attention to rugby, the Leinster star represented Ireland at schoolboy, Under-19 and A level before his debut, on the wing, against Argentina in 2007. He soon settled in at full-back though, and was picked for the Lions tour to South Africa in 2009, following Ireland’s first Grand Slam in the Six Nations since 1948.

He came off the bench in the first Test against the Springboks but earned a starting spot for the second and third Tests, scoring one try as the Lions lost the series 2-1. Kearney also toured Australia in 2013 but did not make the Test line-up.

The 29-year-old was a key part of Leinster’s European Cup-winning side of 2009 but missed the 2011 final through injury. He was back, however, when they won their second successive title in 2012 and was the ERC Player of the Year.

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