With 91 caps to his name, there is no doubt that Rob Kearney will be keen to bridge the illustrious 100 mark.
His inclusion in Joe Schmidt’s 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup means he will likely narrow the deficit between now and November.
He has been named to start at fullback for Ireland’s final warm-up game with Wales on Saturday which will provide their last hit-out before they take on Scotland in their Pool A opener in Yokohama on September, 22.
If he lines out on the Yokohama turf in just over two weeks time, it will be Kearney’s third World Cup appearance and one he hopes to enjoy which is in contrast to the ones he previously experienced.
“We know that Scotland are starting to brim nicely,” Kearney said of Gregor Townsend’s side.
“They got a good win over France at home, so it’s also a perfect test for us, Wales at home. It’s as tough as it gets. So hopefully we can show what we’ve been doing a little bit more over the last few weeks. The guys who played in the Principality last week kicked it on another gear.
“A lot of changes again this weekend, so there’s a big onus on us to make sure we replicate what they did, and add a little bit more. Listen, any time you get selected for a World Cup it’s incredible.
“Knowing it’s going to be my last one does make it a little bit different, and I keep trying to tell myself to enjoy it. It is difficult to do.”
The difficulty in enjoying a World Cup is attributed to the pressure which is associated with it, as Kearney explains:
“Yeah, probably (because of pressure). They’re great times and hugely enjoyable and everyone gets very excited when you’re winning. I’ve been to some World Cups when things haven’t gone so well and all of a sudden, they aren’t enjoyable pretty quickly.
“It’s simple. When you’re winning, you’re having the time of your life and when you’re not, it gets a bit tricky. There’s no secret formula and we know what we have to do.”
Kearney was named to start in a strong team for Saturday’s clash with Wales – the full team can be viewed here.