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…
“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 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.
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.
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 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.