Sky is the limit for Ireland under Joe Schmidt, believes Rob Kearney
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 19/03/18 6:33pm
Rob Kearney believes the sky is the limit for Joe Schmidt’s Ireland following Saturday’s Grand Slam-clinching victory over England at Twickenham.
Ireland, now the world's No 2-ranked team behind New Zealand, proved too strong for England as they secured just their third ever Grand Slam with a 24-15 win.
Kearney and captain Rory Best were the lone survivors from Ireland's last Grand Slam in 2009.
Ireland's win at Twickenham was backboned by a number of exciting young stars with Garry Ringrose (23), Jacob Stockdale (21), Tadhg Furlong (25), James Ryan (21), Dan Leavy (23), Andrew Porter (22), Joey Carbery (22) and Jordan Larmour (20) all playing important roles in the win.
And the age profile of Ireland's squad has Kearney excited as he looks ahead to a three-Test tour of Australia this summer and the World Cup in 2019.
"The manner in which we have gone about this and the hopes we have for now and in the future is really exciting," Kearney said.
"Although the group probably has not said it much over the past few months, the Grand Slam was something that was certainly on our minds.
"To work so hard building towards something and to finally achieve it is always a fantastic feeling.
"We will continue to try and build. We have a really exciting summer tour down against a quality Australia team away from home.
"So continuing to get better as a team is always our focus."
Kearney has played under Schmidt for club or country since 2010, when the New Zealand native succeeded Michael Cheika as head coach of Leinster.
Under Schmidt's tutelage, Kearney has won two Heineken Cups, one Pro12, one European Challenge Cup, three Six Nations titles and a Grand Slam.
When asked if he believes "anything is possible" for this young Ireland side under Schmidt, Kearney replied: "Yeah, it really is.
"I have been incredibly lucky to play under Joe throughout his Leinster days and what we achieved in Europe.
"Personally, I have had a huge amount of backing from Joe over the years. When you get the backing of a coach like him who has achieved so much in the game, it does a huge amount for your confidence."