Kidney reads the riot act
Ireland coach pulls no punches in effort to stop conceding ‘silly’ penalties
Donncha O'Callaghan has revealed that a ferocious tongue-lashing from coach Declan Kidney has finally forced the Irish players to address their ongoing disciplinary problems.
Despite repeated calls from captain Brian O'Driscoll and senior players to end the cycle of penalty concessions, only a dressing-down from the normally mild-mannered Kidney hammered the point home.
"Anyone who was in our meeting with Deccie in Carton House wouldn't want to be on the end of a silly penalty this week," said O'Callaghan.
"Because, to be fair, you probably know him all as a nice man and really calm and composed, but he let fly on Tuesday and you just don't want to be in there, following the review of that game, being on the end of something silly.
"You can say that you can self-police and stuff like that but when it comes down from the top you have to perk up and listen to it.
"It's tough for him to be that blunt and direct. It's a kind of side to him that you don't like to see too much.
"You can say you should self-police within the team and Paul (O'Connell) and Brian were saying it, but none of it would carry the weight it had when it came from Deccie.
"You could see it's the main man calling the shots there and guys didn't want to re-offend. That's within keeping the balance of it -- you don't want to be playing with 15 altar boys.
"There are certain balls you have to contest, and there are certain penalties we're going to give away. But it's getting the balance right between the crazy, stupid ones that just cost your team."
Kidney has named an unchanged team for Saturday's trip to Cardiff after Tomas O'Leary failed to recover from his back trouble, while Wales head coach Warren Gatland has restored the enigmatic James Hook to out-half.
Centre Jonathan Davies is fit again after the hamstring injury that kept him out of the win in Italy and returns to partner Jamie Roberts in midfield.
Stephen Jones drops to the bench, while Leigh Halfpenny replaces Morgan Stoddart on the wing. Scrum-half Dwayne Peel is named on the bench in place of Tavis Knoyle.
Hooker Richard Hibbard has overcome his shoulder problem and provides front-row cover with prop John Yapp.