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Kearney eager to maintain upper hand

Rob Kearney insists Ireland's superiority explains their mastery of England over the last decade.

The St Patrick's Day celebrations will begin in earnest should the Irish storm Twickenham in the climax to the RBS 6 Nations on Saturday.

Ireland have won seven of the last eight championship meetings and Kearney said: "If you are winning so many games against them it probably means you're a better side. I'd like to think that trend will continue on Saturday and that we remain the better side."

He added: "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."

Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris accused England of being "bad losers" on Tuesday.

And while Kearney insists France in Paris was the fixture he wanted to win most of all - Ireland could only draw 17-17 - he admits playing England still retains enormous appeal.

"I'm a lot more excited by this weekend because England is the one clash we all love and it is the one, being Irish, you get excited for," the 25-year-old 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 is something we have built into us as Irish people and it's important to try and 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."


From Belfast Telegraph