England v Ireland, Six Nations, March 17
Kearney calls on 'built-in' rivalry
March 15, 2012
Rob Kearney is hoping to continue their dominance over England © Getty Images
Rob Kearney is planning to use Ireland's "built-in" rivalry with England to his advantage in Saturday's Six Nations finale at Twickenham.
The fullback, one of the star performers of the Championship this season, hopes that the St. Patrick's Day clash will have a little extra bite as Ireland seek to finish in second spot.
"England is the one match we all love and it is the one, being Irish, you get excited for," he 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 dominated the fixture in recent seasons - winning seven of the last eight Championship meetings and three of the last four at Twickenham - and Kearney insists their record is based on solid foundations.
"If you are winning so many games against them it probably means you're a better side," he 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 inexperienced 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, a stat that frustrates Kearney.
"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."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
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