Coach Kidney shoulders blame for loss

2010-11-10 09:42

Ireland coach Declan Kidney admitted he got his tactics wrong after the team began their end-of-year campaign with a 23-21 loss against the Springboks last weekend.

The final scoreline flattered the hosts who, despite the wind and rain engulfing Lansdowne Road Stadium in the capital Dublin, opted for a “flash” running game that was littered with handling errors.

Only the late introduction off the bench of veteran half-backs Peter Stringer and Ronan O’Gara sparked an Irish revival that led to two tries against a Springbok side who, relying on their traditional forward strength, controlled the contest for the first hour.

Kidney has made 10 changes and a positional switch for this weekend’s clash against Samoa but insisted the changes had been brought about by the need for squad building ahead of next year’s World Cup in New Zealand rather than as punishment for poor performance.

And he stressed he did not want Ireland to retreat into excessive caution as a result of losing to the Boks.

“We’re bitterly disappointed about Saturday but we know we can play better,” Kidney said yesterday after unveiling his starting 15 to play Samoa at Lansdowne Road.

“We have a plan and what you don’t want to do is let what happened on Saturday make you tighten up.

“We know the way we want to play, we want to play the Irish way and we’re not trying to imitate anyone. We’re looking to play to our strengths.

“I’ll put my hand up and say I didn’t cover the avenue of what happens if it buckets down on Saturday. We’ll learn from it and I believe we’ll become a better side from it.”

Leinster lock Devin Toner is set to make his Test debut this weekend in a side where Stringer and O’Gara will start – the Irish will once again be captained by star centre Brian O’Driscoll.

“We’ve talked about having a big squad and sometimes you have to back that up,” said Kidney.

 “There’s always a risk the team will be disjointed with that many changes, but building a squad isn’t an easy thing to do.

“The alternative is to have only 15 players, but then if someone is injured it’s hard to pick another fella.

People paying hard-earned money to see the match want to see Ireland win. It’s about trying to get that balance right.”

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