The Official Online RBS 6 Nations Store is open. The store has everything you need to get behind your team during the RBS 6 Nations, plus the store is now fully stocked with a much wider range of rugby merchandise.
The Leinster back was, by his own admission, rushed back to duty in time for the World Cup after a career-threatening knee injury but rather than dwell on the hard luck stories of New Zealand, the 25-year-old is just keen to be back running out at the Aviva Stadium after missing last year’s RBS 6 Nations.
“Sportsman can live in a bubble and it doesn’t do you any harm to step outside of that sometimes and take stock,” said Kearney told the Telegraph.
“You don’t know what you’ve got until you are faced with prospect of losing it, that’s for sure. It’s really nice to be involved again in the Six Nations though, it has been too long.
"During my rehab, the most difficult part of all was the 80 minutes every week when you sat down to watch a match and not being able to help yourself scrutinise the guy in my position.
"I got pretty cranky at times and started feeling sorry for myself, although you wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t feel like that sometimes. Thankfully that’s all gone now, it’s about moving forward.
‘‘I was under pressure a little bit to get back for the World Cup but because it was such a big injury, I couldn’t take any shortcuts and then I picked up a little groin niggle in my second comeback match against France in August.
"You probably need six or seven matches to get fully back in your stride and that wasn’t really until the end of the World Cup.
"The tournament probably came a month too early for me but that is not to say I wasn’t hugely appreciative and delighted to be part of it.”
Kearney has been one of Leinster’s standout performers this term and has recaptured the sort of form that was on display in Ireland’s Grand Slam in 2009.
However that defeat to Wales in October still hurts though, and Kearney admits an improvement will be needed if they are to claim another Six Nations crown.
He added: "Wales turned up in Wellington and produced what they will admit themselves was their best display of the World Cup. We didn’t.
“What we have to do now is channel everything into producing our best possible 80-minute performance because Wales are such a high quality side that nothing less will be needed to beat them.”