Sport Rugby

Saturday 18 November 2017

Kidney makes four changes amid Kiwi ridicule

IRELAND coach Declan Kidney believes it is time for his players to "get upset" with themselves after making four changes for Saturday's second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch.

The Irish squad has been the source of much ridicule and criticism in New Zealand following last weekend's 42-10 defeat by the world champions in Auckland and Kidney said the squad are aware of what is being said and are challenging themselves to improve.

"We just need to get a bit upset with ourselves and we will perform an awful lot better," said Kidney.

"I know that we can. I know we'll improve. We just need to focus on ourselves.

"I have heard bits and pieces about it (ridicule) but to be honest that's their prerogative until we start performing."

Fit-again tight-head Mike Ross returns to front-row, with Kidney claiming he is "in a much better place than last week" although Declan Fitzpatrick is on standby if required, while Kevin McLaughlin comes into the back-row, with Peter O'Mahony dropping down to the bench.

In the backline, Gordon D'Arcy replaces the injured Keith Earls in the No 12 jersey, with Kidney confirming that captain Brian O'Driscoll will play as designated outside centre, and Andrew Trimble comes onto the left wing in place of Simon Zebo.

Kidney said scrum-half Eoin Reddan and second-row Donncha O'Callaghan were "unlucky" not to earn recalls and said Fergus McFadden will learn from his first Test experience.

As expected, New Zealand have made one change, Adam Thomson coming in at blindside flanker for the injured Victor Vito and Kidney claimed there was no psychological issue to be overcome against a side Ireland have never beaten.

"No I actually asked them that and they said no," said Kidney. "The chat was really good. They just didn't get their hands on the ball. And that's what it is all about down here."

IRELAND -- R Kearney; F McFadden, B O'Driscoll (capt). G D'Arcy, A Trimble; J Sexton, C Murray; C Healy, R Best, M Ross; D Tuohy, D Ryan; K McLaughlin, S O'Brien, J Heaslip. Reps: S Cronin, D Fitzpatrick/R Loughney, D O'Callaghan, P O'Mahony, E Reddan, R O'Gara, S Zebo.

NEW ZEALAND -- I Dagg; Z Guildford, C Smith, SB Williams, J Savea; D Carter, A Smith; T Woodcock, A Hore, O Franks, B Retallick, S Whitelock, A Thomson, R McCaw (capt), K Read. Reps: H Elliot, B Franks, A Williams, S Cane, P Weepu, A Cruden, B Smith.

Irish Independent

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