| 6.8°C Dublin

Aussie rugby cheat slurs scandalous, says coach Kidney

IRELAND coach Declan Kidney has attacked Australian claims that Ireland cheated their way to victory last weekend as "scandalous".

Kidney, speaking in New Zealand today, slammed comments by legendary double World Cup winner Tim Horan that Ireland faked injuries in last Saturday's historic victory over the Wallabies.

Kidney, who is usually very controlled in front of the cameras, branded Horan's comments as "incredulous and slightly scandalous".

He also fumed about Horan's attempts to implicate Ireland's assistant coach Alan Gaffney.

Writing in his column in Sydney's Daily Telegraph, Horan said: "Ireland had a deliberate plan to fake injuries each time there was a breakdown in play last Saturday, so they could slow the game down and frustrate the Wallabies.

"How can I be sure? By talking to Irish assistant coach Alan Gaffney in the dressing rooms afterwards."

Kidney, who refused to refer to Horan by his name, pulled no punches in rubbishing the claims.

"What I can tell you for definite is that the reporter in question (Horan) was never in the dressing room," said Kidney.

"The coach in question (Gaffney) never spoke to him, so I'll let you make your own inferences into how he can quote something that was never said.

"It's incredulous and slightly scandalous that he'd try to bring one of his fellow countrymen into something that is totally untrue.

"It's for other people to have their standards in life."

The comments made by the 1991 and 1999 World Cup winner have ignited real anger in the Irish rugby community.

Horan also argued that last Saturday's referee Bryce Lawrence should not be allowed to officiate at the World Cup.

He claimed that the game should be refereed according to the wishes of the general public and not rugby purists.


"The shame was that Lawrence destroyed the spectacle of the game. Ireland deserved to win and always would have won, but the way Lawrence handled the match means he should not get another game at the World Cup.

"It is about the spectacle, not just for the rugby diehards but general sports fans who want to enjoy this tournament," he said.

Rugby writer Billy Keane said Horan's comments and actions were those of a "bad loser".

"It's Tim's (Horan) word against Alan Gaffney's, but in the end it's just another Aussie great who is a bad loser," he told the Herald.

"I can assure Mr Horan that Irishmen never fake injury."

Former Leinster and Ireland forward Trevor Brennan said: "It's amazing for a player of his calibre winning two World Cups and being one of the most exciting backs to ever play the game to come out with this nonsense.

"It's the reason why the Australian national team is hated in New Zealand, the arrogance from their media and supporters and their lack of grace in defeat doesn't appeal to any sports-loving people."