Kearney missed the match with a minor hip injury.
There will be no dream Super Rugby AU final for Ireland’s Rob Kearney after Western Force were defeated by the ACT Brumbies 21-9 in their semi-final play-off on Saturday night.
The Brumbies will now defend their title against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane next weekend.
Rob Kearney injury.
Kearney himself missed the match due to a hip problem but would have been expected to be fit for the final, if the Force had managed to get there.
The former Leinster and Ireland full-back has struggled with the injury in recent weeks and lost his race to prove his fitness in time for Saturday’s semi-final to coach Tim Sampson, ahead of the Force’s first play-off in their 16 years as a club.
Sampson’s side eventually lost the game 21-9, even having to play 20 minutes with 14 men after Toni Pulu was shown a red card.
The Brumbies’ crucial first-half tries came from Tom Wright and Tom Banks while Noah Lolesio and Ryan Lonergan contributed 11 points from the kicking tee.
A resilient performance in a historic Super Rugby AU Semi Final, but it wasn't to be in Canberra.
— Western Force (@westernforce) May 1, 2021
Kearney joined Western Force from Leinster and met up with his new teammates at the start of 2021, having to undergo mandatory quarantine in an Australian hotel for two weeks with his fiancé Jess Redden.
He made his debut in front of a 10,000 capacity crowd in Perth – starting at number 15 – and speaking after the game on his social media channels, the two-time Grand Slam winner expressed his delight at having finally made his debut for his new side.
“Delighted to have made my Super 15 debut with the Western Force last night,” Kearney tweeted.
“Not the result we wanted but I’m sure we’ll have some great days ahead.”
With his first appearance for his new club, the 34-year-old became the oldest back to debut in Super Rugby history.