Win Rob Kearney’s autobiography

Rob Kearney’s celebrated career is still going strong, the former Ireland full-back now turning out in Super Rugby for Australian franchise Western Force. Before heading Down Under, he published his engaging autobiography No Hiding, written with David Walsh.

You can read a review of the book here.

At the foot of this article, we’re offering you the chance to win one of six copies of the book, which is published by London-based Reach Sport. First, here’s a taster from the book that begins with a chance encounter at a Tokyo airport…

Win Rob Kearney's superb autobiography

Write on: Kearney signs autographs during a school visit at the 2019 World Cup in Japan (Sportsfile/Getty)

“On the way home from Japan after the World Cup (2019), I was sitting with Johnny Sexton in the boarding lounge at Narita Airport when a man approached us politely, writes Rob Kearney. He was diffident and he was wearing a peak cap.

We were just a little bit down still and not much in the mood for a chit-chat, but the man just wanted to say hard luck to the two of us. He wished us safe home and the best of luck with the rest of our season. We said thanks and he said goodbye and he walked off towards his boarding gate, leaving Johnny and I to pick up our conversation.

Johnny Sexton of Ireland

Lounge chat: Ireland captain Johnny Sexton (NurPhoto/Getty)

Johnny flicked his head in the direction of the guy in the cap. Jesus, he said, he was some player.

Who was some player?

The guy we were just talking to.

Who was he?

Chris Latham, said Johnny.

Was that…?

I have never fanboyed after my heroes but I got up off my chair and went striding off to look for Chris Latham.

I needed to tell him that he was my hero growing up and to ask if I could have a photograph with him. He’d boarded his plane, though, and I never got to thank the full-back who I had always wanted to be.

It wouldn’t be correct to say that full-back is a family trade but Don Kearney, my grandad, was a full-back. He won a Towns Cup medal with Dundalk in 1937. My dad played full-back at school and went on to play centre with Dundalk.

By fifth year [at Clongowes Wood College] I was the established school full-back and Adam Lewis was my prefect. Adam was also our coach and one evening he called me up to his office and brought me into the living room and said listen, I want to show you a video here.

It was a two-minute video of Christian Cullen, the All Black full-back. Just Christian Cullen player-cammed. The game was going on up and down the field but the camera stayed on him the whole time. His work-rate was incredible.

He just did not stop moving. His anticipation, his concentration. He was back and forth, back and forth, for two minutes straight.

Win Rob Kearney's superb autobiography Christian Cullen

Non-stop: All Black Christian Cullen on the move against England at Eden Park in 1998 (Getty Images)

Adam showed me this and said, if you want to be a world-class fifteen that is what you must aspire to do. It was pertinent enough because I had always thought of Christian Cullen with the ball in his hand, sidestepping, feinting and just skinning lads and scoring tries. In this two-minute segment, he never touched the ball, not once. But he never stopped working.

In terms of full-backs, I loved watching Cullen. He was incredible. He had great acceleration. His ability to sidestep was magical. I was never gifted with an incredible, elusive sidestep, though. Deep down I always knew that I wasn’t going to be a Christian Cullen-type player.

Cullen was the player who I thought was without doubt the best full-back in the world, but the guy who I really looked up to and wanted to emulate was Latham.

Chris Latham

Role model: Chris Latham, the former Wallaby full-back, offloads against Canada at RWC 2007 (AFP/Getty)

Chris Latham was simply a very good footballer. He was a left-footer, he spiralled the ball a lot, he ran good angles. He was tough and he was strong. Latham was the guy that I wanted to be like and I learned a lot from watching him.

Back at the beginning, though, that video showcasing Cullen’s work-rate made a big impact on me. It gave me a foundation.”

Now enter our competition to win the book or buy it here

Rob Kearney: No Hiding has been written in collaboration with the award-winning David Walsh, chief sports writer of The Sunday Times. It’s published by Reach Sport, RRP £20. Buy it by clicking on the link below.

We also have six copies to give away. For a chance to win Rob Kearney’s book, answer the question below and fill in your details. The competition closes on Thursday 29 April.

Win Rob Kearney's superb autobiography

Cross purpose: Rob Kearney scores for Ireland at the 2019 World Cup – but against who? (MB Media/Getty)

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Terms and conditions

The competition closes at 10am on Thursday 29 April 2021. Six winners will be selected at random, each winning a copy of No Hiding by Rob Kearney. Normal Future Plc competition rules apply. Competition details form part of these terms and conditions. Entry is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands and Republic of Ireland except employees (and their families) of Future Plc, its printers and agents, the suppliers of the prizes and any other companies associated with the competitions. The winners must be aged 18 or over. Proof of identity and age may be required. Use of a false name or address will result in disqualification. All entries must be made directly by the person entering the competition. Entries made online using methods generated by a script, macro or the use of automated devices will be void. The prizes are as stated, are not transferable to another individual and no cash or other alternatives will be offered. Prizes are subject to availability and the prize suppliers’ terms and conditions. The promoters reserve the right to amend or alter the terms of competitions and reject entries from entrants not entering into the spirit of the competition. The winner agrees to the use of his or her name, photograph and disclosure of county of residence and will co-operate with any other reasonable requests by Future Plc relating to any post-winning publicity. The winners will be chosen from all correct entries received by the closing date stated within the promotional material. Winners will be confirmed in writing. Reasonable efforts will be made to contact a winner. Failure to respond and/or provide an address for delivery, or failure to meet the eligibility requirements may result in forfeiture of the prize. If they cannot be contacted, or are unable to comply with these terms and conditions, the Promoter reserves the right to offer the prize to the next eligible entrant drawn at random. Where applicable, the decision of the judges is final based on the criteria set out in the promotion and no correspondence will be entered into over this decision. Competitions may be modified or withdrawn at any time. The Service Provider and contact details are specified within the promotional material.