Sport Rugby

Saturday 25 November 2017

Kiss insists Ireland right to keep team to face Scots under wraps

Kiss says it is important not to overfocus on the competition in order to get your own team right
Kiss says it is important not to overfocus on the competition in order to get your own team right
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

LES KISS arrives in for his press briefing armed with what looks like a teamsheet.

The assembled journalists briefly wonder if they are about to get an impromptu team announcement, until it quickly becomes clear that what he has in his hand is Scott Johnson's Scottish selection which he describes as "interesting" and says that Sunday's visitors have loaded their bench.

Joe Schmidt's side remain under wraps until tomorrow, making him the last of the six coaches to show his hand before the Championship kicks off this weekend.

"Sometimes it's handy not to give the information early," says Kiss.

"We've got their team now, but you can overanalyse them in that respect as well. Some part of your week has to be focused on your game and if you've got information early on your opposition, you can overfocus on them and not get your own stuff right.

"Whereas if you get it late, you can be a bit more specific about building your week, get your stuff right and then 'okay, let's nail the right things we need to' and get that right. But I like to get it out as late as possible."

DAMAGED

As he contemplates the balance of his selection with this week's opposition and the short turnaround before the Wales game in mind, the Schmidt will probably have to do without Eoin Reddan and Mike McCarthy.

The former damaged his calf and was unable to train yesterday (with Isaac Boss called up), while the latter had to get 23 stitches in his face as a result of Ian Evans' boot in the incident that saw the Wales lock red-carded during Leinster's recent Ospreys clash.

Otherwise, there was a clean bill of health to report at Maynooth yesterday when Richardt Strauss attended training, despite not being part of the official party. He's highly unlikely to play against Scotland.

The key areas remain the back-row, where Chris Henry looks like getting the nod ahead of Tommy O'Donnell and Jordi Murphy at openside, while Andrew Trimble's size could be an advantage for him as the coaches look to counter a big Scottish back three.

Kiss admits that the six-day turnaround would have some bearing on selection as the power of Warren Gatland's Wales come into view and some rotation may be in their thinking, with Luke Marshall one who could benefit.

"The six-day turnaround is not a welcome thing, particularly when you come up against the Welsh.

"Next week we'll only have two sessions and they won't be full-blooded. We need to manage it right, so we can still go into this (Scotland) game with the right level of aggression, accuracy and discipline."

Irish Independent

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