Monday 25 September 2017

Kiss wants players to deliver

Les Kiss, pictured, will provide the continuity from old regime to new when he hands over the reins
Les Kiss, pictured, will provide the continuity from old regime to new when he hands over the reins

Ireland coach Les Kiss has thrown down the gauntlet to his young squad ahead of Saturday's Test against the US Eagles in Houston.

The Australian will provide the continuity from old regime to new when he hands over the reins to Joe Schmidt after the tour. The new coach will be in Texas to run the rule over the squad when he touches down on Friday and watches the clash at the BBVA Stadium on Saturday.

Kiss said: "Every Test is a must-win game. There is a real opportunity on two fronts, to bring players away so that they are well informed about what is required at this level and to prepare for Test matches come November."

He added: "For ongoing transition into a new structure there is an opportunity to know what the players can do."

With 10 players away with the Lions and a number of others injured or rested, Kiss has a host of new faces to pick from. There are seven uncapped players in his squad.

And with Schmidt taking over ahead of games against New Zealand, Australia and Samoa there will be little chance for manoeuvre in November, meaning players need to take their opportunities in Texas and Toronto.

Kiss added: "These two Tests are ideal for that. It is a long time since we last played these boys in 2011, it was 60 minutes before we got away from it was tough, right until the back end.

"It is a different team, the US have variation on their gameplan, their attack is better and they are improving. We want to win two Tests, That's what it is about and if we come out the other end well informed about what faces us going into November it will be a good thing."

The decision on whether to introduce water breaks has not yet been made with the game expected to be played in high temperatures and humidity. The call will be made at the match committee.

Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony admitted the going had been tough at training, and he said: "The heat has been a factor for us and in training today we got 70 minutes and a bit of a shock of what heat and humidity will do, training has gone well and it is an opportunity to get good Test rugby."

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