O’Driscoll fails to back under-fire Kidney as O’Shea commits to Harlequins
As Conor O'Shea ruled himself out of the running – for now – to become the next Ireland head coach, deposed captain Brian O'Driscoll pointedly refused a direct invitation to back current boss Declan Kidney as he fights to save his job.
Kidney's contract expires this summer, but O'Driscoll has insisted that the players have not discussed the coach's future, preferring to concentrate on their own failures on the field.
"We haven't collectively got together and said what we do and do not want," he said. "The IRFU will make the decision themselves and that's their role; it's not the players' role to do that.
"We know that Declan is certainly contracted until the summer tour, and all the management that are there are going to be involved for the next two games at the very least, so let's go about trying to win both of them.
"Beyond that it's not in my control, it's not in any of the players' control. It's about now and trying to stop this two-game rot and getting back to consistency of performance. It's as simple as that.
"I don't have to answer that, because I don't have a say in it. It doesn't matter what my opinion is one way or the other."
O'Shea, the popular favourite to succeed Kidney, yesterday committed himself to English champions Harlequins, where he is contracted until the end of next season, even expressing a desire to remain there beyond that date.
"I am contracted until the end of the 2013-14 season," he said. "I will be honouring that commitment and, hopefully, continuing beyond it."
Ireland U-20 coach Mike Ruddock has been installed as the bookies' favourite, but O'Driscoll firmly believes that the players also need to take some responsibility for Ireland's poor results.
"I would say the game at the weekend is 100pc player responsibility. We can't have our hands held through games," he said.
"There is only so much coaches can do. They can put you in a position, they can educate you as to where they feel opportunities are going to arise, and then train you for that and put you out on the pitch.
"Beyond what they say at half-time or the couple of messages they pass on, the ball is in our court and we are responsible for what happens.
"Clearly in that first half with the amount of line-breaks we made and the things we did, the information we got was pretty good; we just didn't implement it pretty well.
"Can we point fingers back at the coaching staff? Absolutely not. That's on us."
France, Ireland's next opponents in Dublin on March 9, have made two changes to their squad.
Toulouse wing Maxime Medard comes in at the expense of Racing Metro's Benjamin Fall, while Perpignan lock Sebastien Vahaamahina replaces Toulon's Jocelino Suta.