Full name Nicholas John Kennedy
Born August 19, 1981, Southampton
Current age 34 years 339 days
Major teams England A, Harlequins, London Irish, Toulon, England
Height 6 ft 8 in
Weight 252 lb
|Test debut||England v Pacific Islanders at Twickenham, Nov 8, 2008 match details|
|Last Test||England v Scotland at Twickenham, Mar 21, 2009 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
London Irish lock Nick Kennedy is the Guinness Premiership's most deadly exponent of aggressive lineout play. He has formed a partnership with veteran Irishman Bob Casey that has caused no end of trouble for every team to line up against them.
A cursory glance at the stats for Guinness Premiership lineout steals shows Kennedy out in front for the last two seasons, and London Irish winning an almost inconceivable 42% of opposition ball in the 2005/6 season as a result.
Kennedy has found international recognition hard to come by since his emergence with the Exiles and despite being a regular with the England Saxons he is one of the few uncapped players in Martin Johnson's elite player squad.
He was part of the Saxons squads that took home the Churchill Cup in 2006 and 2007, but his development as a player has come almost exclusively in the gritty confines of the Premiership.
A late starter in the game, Kennedy began playing on the wing whilst at Plymouth University, although a quick look at his six foot eight inch frame shows the reasoning behind his switch to lock. He signed professional terms with London Irish in his final year of university, and quickly graduated into the first team.
Kennedy is a thinking man's player, with his ability to read the nuances of lineout play the reason behind his imperious record in the Premiership. Allied to his reading of the game, Kennedy is a hugely athletic tight five forward. This fact was no better exemplified than by his first ever try for the Exiles, a thirty metre run in against the Newport Gwent Dragons.
Despite his consistent brilliance in the set piece, Kennedy has been criticised in certain quarters as a one trick pony. His broken field play may not be to the standard of his line out mastery, but he is far from being redundant in the loose. His tackle count is consistently on a par with his back row forwards and he has proved his worth against every second row pairing in the Premiership.
Under the tutelage of Martin Johnson there could be special things ahead for Kennedy, especially considering the issues that have dogged the England lineout. If Kennedy can take on the best aspects of the new England coach, there is no telling how successful he may yet become.
Depriving opposing teams of lineout ball is becoming ever more popular as a defensive tactic, well exemplified by the play of Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield in the 2007 World Cup final, and Kennedy could have a huge effect on England's capacity to do so over the coming season.
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