Bone rattling hits, foul mouthed sprays, brilliant tactical insight and telling the referee how to do his job.
Rob Kearney’s rollercoaster Super Rugby debut was captured up close and personal on the Stan Sport player mic, delivering viewers a spectacular experience on the first edition of Rugby Heaven on Tuesday night.
The great Ireland fullback had a mixed night for the Western Force, showcasing his leadership and aerial abilities in Perth on Friday night, although his 34-year-old legs were exposed at times in the 27-11 round one loss to the defending champion Brumbies.
There is plenty of interest in Ireland in Kearney’s adventure’s Down Under and the mic’d up clip went viral after two of the country’s leading sports journalists tweeted out the Wide World of Sports link.
Watch the video at the top of the page for the full clip but here is a taste of what went down.
After young Wallabies star Noah Lolesio scored the Brumbies’ opening try, Kearney moved to reassure his young teammates.
“That’s the first bit of possession they’ve had boys, OK,” Kearney says.
“We’re f—ing way on top here, they’re on their f—ing knees.
“Alright so let’s just go back to basics, calm down, hold onto the ball and discipline.
“But we are on top here.”
Noah runs beautiful arc
Kearney then used all of his experience to apply pressure on young referee Graham Cooper.
“Sir, when we are coming to a breakdown, they’re coming past and taking out two cleaners, every time,” the 98 Test veteran said.
“Like a metre past the ball… it’s pretty much every time.”
And the language got spicy again after Brumbies centre Irae Simone crossed for a try to stretch the visitors’ lead to a concerning 20-6.
“F—ing hell,” Kearney fumed.
“When we hit a breakdown, forwards don’t dip your head.
“We’ve got to get two around the corner.
“We’re missing those two so we’re having to go red on an edge and be soft.
“Two around the corner, green, and let’s go and f—ing get them.”
Kearney kept encouraging his side near the finish line even with victory out of reach.
“Loads of gas in us,” he said.
“We’re so fit boys, we’re so fit.”
The game then ends on a controversial Cooper decision as the Force press for a second late try to add some respectability to the scoreline.
After several Force players argue their case, an exasperated Kearney gives up.
“OK, forget it,” he tells Cooper.
“It’s a poor call.”
What wasn’t a poor call, according to Wallabies great Justin Harrison, was the Force’s decision to splash the cash and bring Kearney to Perth – despite being in the twilight of his career.
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“There’s no question Rob Kearney’s been brought in to play more of a role than just athletic performance,” Harrison said on Rugby Heaven.
“He’s there to deliver all of that experience, all of that know how and all of that knowledge in how to lead what is a young group.
“And also potentially a disjointed group in the first couple of weeks of this season.
“Very important that we listen in to some of those messages.
“Very simple, very direct.
“We know that rugby players aren’t necessarily all that cerebral but when you keep it simple you can stay in the game and give people one or two tasks.”
Wallabies legend David Campese was struck by the rawness of the mic’d up footage.
“Some of those hits, you could hear – Kearney’s obviously a bit older – the air come out,” Campese said on Stan Sport.
“There’s some big boys out there but I just like his enthusiasm.
“He doesn’t give up, he still loves the game and that also helps the young players.
“If that guy is still enthusiastic about the game, the young kids must say ‘well if he can do it, I can do it.’
“And that’s why he was brought in.
“Kearney’s 98 caps, you could see and hear the way he talks to the players.
“He’s got a lot of experience, he stays calm under pressure.”
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