JEREMY PROOME looks at the upcoming battle between the Irish and Welsh fullbacks, Rob Kearney and Leigh Halfpenny.
ROB KEARNEY (IRELAND)
Kearney is the in-form fullback in Irish rugby, and his incredible game against New Zealand at the end of last year seems to have given him some momentum heading into the Six Nations. Kearney played in his 50th Test against Scotland at the weekend and capped a memorable performance with his side's third try late on. Kearney was safe under the high ball and impressed in attack with 79m gained. While he doesn’t offer himself as a goal-kicking option, he’s definitely got most notable attacking prowess at the moment.
LEIGH HALFPENNY (WALES)
Despite throwing a predictable pass that led to the interception by Italy’s Michele Campagnaro, Halfpenny was once again a strong presence in the back three for Wales. He attacked with purpose against Italy and will undoubtedly do so against Ireland. His reliable boot will likely be a huge factor, as both Wales and Ireland won’t look past taking a shot at goal against one another. And with Alex Cuthbert and George North on an unbelievable try-scoring run, Halfpenny should look to inject his line-breaking ability into his game this weekend to give his big wingers some space to run into.
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