Planet Rugby

Kearney welcoming Kirchner

15th October 2013 06:47

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Team-mates: Kearney and Kirchner

Leinster full-back Rob Kearney has welcomed the competition offered by new Springbok recruit Zane Kirchner at the club.

Kirchner arrived last week in Dublin having played a prominent role at 15 for South Africa in The Rugby Championship.

Kearney was Kirchner's opposite man during the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to the latter's homeland, making the Irishman more than aware of Kirchner's abilities.

Having had his first training sessions with the three-time Heineken Cup champions last week, when Kirchner borrowed a pair of boots from number eight Jamie Heaslip, Kearney believes the competition for the full-back slot will spur both players on over the coming weeks.

"Of course it's helpful," Kearney told the Irish Examiner.

"We always say competition is a good thing when you're the right side of it. Maybe when you're in second place, it's not as good! How that is going to pan out over the next few months, I've no idea.

"Even with him now, I know there's going to be good competition, as there has been over the last few months.

"Back-three players are something we've been strong in. It's the same as when Isa Nacewa was here, the dynamics of if we play together or stuff like that hasn't really been laid down yet. There will be some interesting chats in the weeks ahead.

"[Zane's] been pretty quiet so far. It's difficult for him, coming to a new team, to a squad that their season is kicked off and guys are playing and big matches are coming. But he's going good.

"Guys are making an effort and it's important over the next few weeks that guys do make an effort, take him out for some grub and show him around. Little things like that are going to make a big difference to him."

Kearney was also pleased with his well-received performance against the Ospreys last weekend, as Leinster got their European campaign off to a winning start and denied the Welsh outfit a losing bonus point.

"It was one of my best performances coming back," added Kearney.

"My first few games I was pretty solid but had a couple of one-off pretty big blunders that would dampen the overall outlook of it."

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