Monday 18 December 2017


Tony Ward

Tony Ward

(Four defeats in four matches)

It might be stretching it to describe our World Cup warm-ups as the 'Summer Series from Hell' but the negatives heavily outweigh the positives for Ireland's head coach.

But Kidney will take any criticism on the chin, because he knows he will be judged on how Ireland fare in New Zealand.

Professional rugby is a result- driven business and, while the August brief extended way beyond that, our win/lose ratio in recent times is not good. Four defeats from four -- the last two emphatic and on our own patch -- is not a nice place to be.

Losing, like winning, becomes a habit and state of mind. Whereas England will board their long-haul flight with a spring in their step, we will be a lot less sprightly.

Moreover, we fly out with a team that is far from settled and with the USA fixture, much like Namibia in '07, earmarked as the 'ease in' to settle RWC nerves down. Dare mention that to Eddie O'Sullivan!

There are question marks over full-back, midfield, half-back and back-row.

So where to for Kidney? He must stick to his convictions, but I would like to see him being more assertive in relation to kicks for goal.

Call me old school, but I was brought up on the principle that you took every point-scoring opportunity that came your way. It still applies to the All Blacks so why not us?

Over to you, Declan, to re-establish that fundamental on the road to winning rugby. 4

Irish Independent

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