Sunday 18 February 2018

Kiss pushes for water breaks in US clash

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

IRELAND interim coach Les Kiss is pushing for water breaks to be allowed during Ireland's meeting with the USA on Saturday night.

The team trained for 70 minutes in blistering heat in Houston and the IRFU will raise the prospect of replicating the decision to use water breaks in the Lions' meeting with the Barbarians in Hong Kong last Saturday in their pre-match meetings with US officials.

Humidity is expected to be a major factor when the sides run out at the BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night, with temperatures set for more than 25 degrees with 80pc humidity.

Captain Peter O'Mahony admitted that he found the going tough yesterday morning and said the players will need to adapt.

"The heat has been a factor for us and in training today we got 70 minutes and a bit of a shock of what heat and humidity will do, training has gone well and it is an opportunity to get good Test rugby," he said.

Kiss will have a full squad to choose from when he sits down to pick his team over the coming 48 hours. The players have a down day today, but return to training tomorrow ahead of the clash for which 18,000 tickets have been sold.

"There is a real opportunity on two fronts, to bring players away so that they are well informed about what is required at this level and to prepare for Test matches come November," Kiss said.

"For ongoing transition into a new structure there is an opportunity to know what the players can do.

"These two Tests are ideal for that. We want to win the two Tests, that's what it is about and if we come out the other end well informed about what faces us going into November, it will be a good thing. Every Test is a must-win game."

There is a feeling that the USA could shock the understrength Irish team, but Eagles coach Mike Tolkin is expecting a massive step up even from their last Test against a tier one nation when they played Italy last year at the same venue.

"Ireland's are tremendously skilful," he said. "Ian Madigan is a player who makes things happen, he is a spark plug and we have looked a lot at him."

Irish Independent

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