Friday 19 January 2018

Kidney making most of coaching Ireland

This year's RBS 6 Nations could be pivotal for Declan Kidney
This year's RBS 6 Nations could be pivotal for Declan Kidney

Declan Kidney intends enjoying what could be the final RBS 6 Nations of his five-year reign as Ireland coach.

Kidney's contract with the Irish Rugby Football Union expires in the summer and he needs a strong performance in the forthcoming championship to demonstrate that he is the right man to guide the team to the 2015 World Cup.

"A fella told me once that 'if you want to make God laugh, tell him what you're doing tomorrow'," Kidney said. "My tomorrow is just about getting ready for our opening Six Nations match against Wales. Whatever happens in the future, happens in the future. I'm just going to enjoy the now."

He went on: "To have the privilege of coaching Ireland this year is a huge honour for me and one that I take really seriously.

"There haven't been any discussions with the Irish Rugby Football Union, what will happen will happen."

Kidney has made one of the biggest calls of his Ireland stewardship after selecting Jamie Heaslip as captain ahead of Brian O'Driscoll, who has been the automatic selection since 2004.

O'Driscoll has played only three matches since undergoing ankle surgery in November and will start against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday week.

Part of Kidney's reasoning behind opting for Heaslip was to enable O'Driscoll, who remains an outside contender to lead the Lions tour to Australia this summer, to focus on himself.

"It was my decision to give Brian a bit of space that he himself didn't want just to get himself right," Kidney said.

"Brian reacted to the decision like the man he is and took it in exactly the same way as he plays."

Press Association

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