| 6.1°C Dublin

Kiss expecting stern physical examination

IRELAND defence coach Les Kiss has warned his players to expect a physical four weeks – starting next weekend when the Springboks come to Dublin.

Ireland face South Africa, Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina in a bruising schedule in November and Kiss wants the hosts to front up to the southern hemisphere sides, starting with next Saturday’s first rugby international at the Aviva Stadium.

That has been the focus of Ireland’s efforts this week and, despite the injury problems plaguing the squad, Kiss is positive about Ireland’s chances, as long as they accept the physical challenge.

“They’re four really physical teams,” Kiss said. “It’s a physical challenge right throughout the series. That starts in defence in a lot of ways with the Springboks in particular, as they challenge you at the set-piece, they challenge you around the edge of the rucks and they also have the ability to shift the ball around the park.

“Plus, will they play a contestable kicking game and challenge you in that way? So we have a lot on our plate, but the approach so far has been fantastic and we are just really looking forward to that first game and obviously it being the Aviva’s first game, we hope we can do it justice.

“The Springboks game first up has really been our focus. The guys have come here and embraced the new ideas that the coaching staff have put on the table – they’ve added their own bits to the mix and we’re grateful that they’ve put in such a good performance for the week.”