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.
Against Italy the crisis deepened and in the space of 15 first-half minutes Keith Earls – and his replacement Luke Fitzgerald – went off, as did Luke Marshall while Brian O’Driscoll was sent to the sin bin.
Such was the extent of the problem in Rome that flanker Peter O’Mahony found himself on the wing at one point in the 22-15 defeat to the Azzurri.
And Kearney, one of the few to escape unscathed, was left scratching his head by the number of walking wounded.
“In the space of ten minutes [in Rome] we had a sin bin and three injuries — it was just bizarre,” he told the Irish Examiner.
“You just felt like you were in comedy movie in Hollywood or something. Mixed emotions really, especially given how things just continued to get worse, from an injury perspective.
“Sometimes you just can’t explain these things. Look at England, they had very few injuries. Comparing this year — our worst finishing year in some time — to four years ago when we won the Grand Slam, the stark contrast between the two.
“This year we used 36 players, that year it was 22. There wasn’t one injury whereas this year you could make a team out of the injuries.
“It seemed as if there were snipers at every game taking people out left, right and centre. When you are in the situation where you are avoiding that, you say: ‘thank God for this’. You look at the guys who have been taken out by the snipers and say it’s awful luck.”