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Euro experience will help - Kearney

Ireland full-back Rob Kearney has urged his team-mates to call upon all their Heineken Cup experience as they prepare to play knock-out rugby a week early.

Defeat to Italy in Sunday's final Pool C match will result in the Irish enduring a heartbreaking early exit from the World Cup, with the Azzurri progressing in their place.

Kearney, who helped Leinster win their first European crown in 2009 before a knee injury curtailed his involvement in their repeat last season, said: "Our Heineken Cup experience will help massively because knock-out rugby is different and it's something you might not always be used to."

He added: "Whether you like it or not, it's a much higher pressure situation, knowing that if you lose you could be going home.

"I'd like to think those big European games many of us have played will stand us in good stead.

"We often find ourselves in these scenarios that come in round six of Europe, when whether you progress is determined by how you perform on the day.

"It comes down to having played in those big games before and knowing how to fight your way back.

"In the last few minutes of games when things might not be going your way, it's about having the experience to be patient and take your opportunities when they come."


From Belfast Telegraph