Huge task ahead for Kidney
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll was evidently unimpressed with the performance of New Zealand referee Keith Brown yesterday after his team struggled to win against Samoa at Aviva Stadium.
In front of a crowd of just under 31,000, Ireland were in real trouble until a seven point contribution from Ronan O'Gara in the final quarter took the home team more than a score clear of the Samoans, for whom scrumhalf Kahn Fotualii was man of the match. Ireland had huge difficulty at the scrum, where between full penalties and free kicks they were blown up seven times.
"If all the referees adjudicate like that today I think you'll find in the other games that we won't be the only ones with a little bit of confusion," O'Driscoll said. "Front-row play is far from my area of expertise but from what I get from the boys there was huge delays between each call.
"You're used to a certain amount of tempo in the calling. It's difficult when you've got second rows stuck to you and you're trying to get that dominant hit as well but at the same time make sure that you're right on the call. There's a very fine line. The longer the hold is the more difficult it is for the boys to actually get that hit. So it will be interesting to see the other games whether the other referees prolong the call from crouch to hit. It seemed like an eternity at times. Maybe we'll find out later on that that's the way things are going to be refereed from now on."
Ireland will have another southern hemisphere referee in South African Marius Jonker when they take on New Zealand on Saturday. Declan Kidney expressed relief that Samoa were not in Ireland's World Cup pool after a battle where Ireland couldn't get out of sight.
"I knew they would be a tough side, a tough game," he said. "Obviously we weren't as clinical as we'd like to have been. We have a huge amount of work to do and I wouldn't be hiding behind that. Samoa were what I expected them to be and they adapted better than I thought they would to the conditions.
"They were strong up front. A lot of the match time went on scrummaging. It was a very stop-start type game. The first thing you have to do is try and get on top of a team and we didn't put South Africa away either. I don't think were going to put away that (Samoan) side. They have too many good players."
Kidney said there were no injury issues ahead of the All Blacks test.