'You just can't take your eyes off those guys' - Kiss talks up threat of England

George Ford

Luther Burrell

thumbnail: George Ford
thumbnail: Luther Burrell
By Des Berry

Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss stopped short of rating George Ford as England's best choice at out-half ahead of the injured Owen Farrell.

"I think it's a different threat," he said, carefully choosing his words. "Farrell has been the fly-half for them for the recent results when we haven't beaten them. He's a good player. He's out."

Enter the son of Kiss's predecessor as Ireland's defence coach, Mike Ford, the current Bath head coach.

"I just think Ford has taken his opportunity. He has been impressive, I must say, from his kicking game, to his carry game to his goal-kicking," said Kiss.

The defensive guru is planning for a different kind of approach to deal with England than he did for France.

"They probably have more potency from their organisation whereas the French have a structure but they can be a little bit more off the cuff.

"This team, in terms of what England are putting together at the moment, has an organised approach.

"They're pretty lethal with it when they're given the space they're searching for and trying to create."

The emergence of Jonathan Joseph provides England with real pace and real power on the end of the ball supplied by a huge forward pack and his Bath team-mate Ford.

"I think Joseph, without a doubt, has given them something in terms of that bit of dance factor in that channel, but he can also be a fairly hard runner of the ball," Kiss added.

As always, there was a lean towards the multiple dangers England can bring to any gunfight.

Kiss said: "As well as (Luther) Burrell they've also got (Brad) Barritt sitting under their wing ready to bring back at any stage.

"They're not similar but they can be hard and tough and I know they rate Barritt big time in terms of defence.

"The wingers, you look at the depth there. You've got (Jack) Nowell - there's whispers about him being around the edges there - (Alex) Goode, (Mike) Brown, (Anthony) Watson.

"You just can't take your eyes off those guys."

There is only so much time spent on analysis of the opposition, whoever they might be.


Ireland is a work in progress as Joe Schmidt approaches the halfway mark in his second Six Nations.

Kiss is into his seventh season with Ireland, taking over in the Grand Slam year of 2009.

The Australian added: "We know that we're evolving. We know that we are building blocks about how we can develop.

"We don't think we're complete. That's for sure," he offered.

"We are the hardest on ourselves. That keeps us in a good place. If we can keep that mindset, we will always look at things through the right lens, not rose-coloured lens."