Leinster look to Kearney brothers

Fri, 18 May 2012 00:00
Rob and Dave Kearney are dreaming of joining the elite band of "Brothers in Arms" who have celebrated European Cup glory fighting for the same cause.

Rob and Dave Kearney are dreaming of joining the elite band of "Brothers in Arms" who have celebrated European Cup glory fighting for the same cause.

The silverware-hunting Irish siblings are poised to team up for Leinster when the reigning champions do battle with the 1999 winners Ulster at the home of English rugby in Twickenham on Saturday.

Four sets of brothers have European Cup winners' medals: Philippe and Olivier Carbonneau (Toulouse, 1996), Jan and Bryn Cunningham (Ulster, 1999), Martin and Will Johnson (Leicester Tigers, 2001 and 2002) and Isitolo and Finau Maka (Toulouse, 2005).

That could become five this weekend.

Rob Kearney, 26, who has won 38 Ireland caps, is one of three Irishmen nominated in a list of five candidates for European Player of the Year award, along with teammate Jonathan Sexton and Ulster flank Stephen Ferris.

He has enjoyed a stunning campaign, scoring six tries in total including two in the quarterfinal destruction of Cardiff Blues and a match-winning monster drop-goal to beat Clermont Auvergne in the semis.

Fullback Rob starts his first European Cup final having missed last year's success over Northampton through injury and playing the last nine minutes of the 2009 triumph over Leicester as a replacement.

"Helping Leinster win a third Heineken Cup would incredible. But if Dave is on the pitch at the same time it would make it even sweeter," he said.

"Hopefully, that will be the scenario but it's going to be a very tough and competitive game.

"Ulster have shown just how durable and dangerous they can be. They have been very impressive in getting to the final and we wont be taken them lightly.

"You could say the pressure is on us as champions and having done it twice recently, but we have shown we can cope with that expectation before and can again."

Dave, four years younger than Rob and yet to be win full international honours, admitted: "It's going to be a massive occasion. The whole of Ireland will be watching and the atmosphere electrifying. Twickenham will be painted green for a day.

"I just hope I get on the field and play my part. Mind you, even if Ulster win there could be a different kind of successful sibling partnership."

For their director of rugby is former captain David Humphreys whose brother Ian may well get the chance to feature at Twickenham.

With Dublin hosting next year's Final, entering the 2012-13 campaign as champions would be an exciting experience for either of the two sides.

Leinster, who expect to have inspirational Brian O'Driscoll fit from his knee problem, will start favourites as they search for a third success in four seasons but Ulster have their own history in the competition and believe they can upset the odds again.

Ulster and Ireland flank Ferris, who was inspired in his side's semi-final victory over Edinburgh at the Aviva Stadium, is confident his side can bridge the 13-year gap since they won their only European Cup with a 21-6 win over Colomiers in Dublin.

"The bookies and critics are writing us off but that's a good thing," Ferris said.

"We have the players and firepower to upset those odds. I am confident we will do ourselves justice - just as we have throughout this campaign where people did not expect us to get this far.

"So we have nothing to lose. We will give it the kitchen sink as always."

AFP

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Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Bulls v Highlanders 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 22 April 2018
Racing Metro v Munster 27 | 22
Brumbies v Jaguares 20 | 25
Sat, 21 April 2018
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 36 | 15
Zebre v Ospreys 37 | 14
Sharks v Stormers 24 | 17
Leinster v Scarlets 38 | 16
Bulls v Rebels 28 | 10
Reds v Chiefs 12 | 36
Crusaders v Sunwolves 33 | 11
Fri, 20 April 2018
Waratahs v Lions 0 | 29
Blues v Highlanders 16 | 34
Sun, 15 April 2018
Saracens v Bath 41 | 6
London Irish v Exeter Chiefs 5 | 45
Sat, 14 April 2018
Leinster v Treviso 15 | 17
Kings v Cardiff Blues 12 | 45
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 6 4 0 2 20
Wasps 6 3 0 3 17
Ulster 6 4 0 2 17
Harlequins 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 22
Saracens 6 3 1 2 18
Ospreys 6 2 1 3 15
Northampton Saints 6 1 0 5 6
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 6 0 0 27
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 15
Montpellier 6 2 0 4 13
Glasgow Warriors 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 4 1 1 21
Racing Metro 6 4 0 2 19
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Leicester Tigers 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 6 4 0 2 21
Toulon 6 4 0 2 19
Bath 6 4 0 2 18
Treviso 6 0 0 5 4
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