Thursday 14 December 2017

Pressure on Kidney -- Quinlan

Declan Kidney. Photo: Getty Images
Declan Kidney. Photo: Getty Images
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

FORMER Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan believes Declan Kidney is under mounting pressure to deliver a result in New Zealand.

Ireland have never beaten the All Blacks and travel to Auckland on Thursday without Stephen Ferris and Tommy Bowe, while doubts persist over the fitness of Paul O'Connell and Mike Ross.

But former Munster blindside Quinlan reckons his old coach needs to match the performances of the Irish provinces in Europe and get a win on the first ever three-Test tour of New Zealand.

"Kidney is under pressure and his coaching staff are under pressure because the big question is the provincial form versus the national form and getting guys to gel," said the Sky pundit.

"There's an expectation in Ireland now that we want the national team to deliver better for us."

Quinlan knows how difficult it is to beat the All Blacks, but despite the record of 23 defeats and one draw since 1905, the Tipperary man reckons it is past time that Ireland bucked the trend.

"Like it or love it, rugby's a business now," he said. "The IRFU invest a lot of money in the provinces and you want to win Test matches. Declan has a lot of good guys at his disposal now, so he is under pressure.

"If New Zealand lost the first Test or if it wasn't a good tour for them they'd be calling for Steve Hansen's head, that's just the nature of the beast, it's a little like football.

"I know you blame the head coach, but Les Kiss and Gert Smal are there and it's a management team that propel the team forward and they are all under pressure.

"If there is a disastrous tour, of course there are going to be questions asked.

"When I started at Munster, if you beat an English team in Thomond Park it was a big morale-boosting victory and we went on the beer for a couple of days. We didn't qualify for the quarter-finals but we were heroes.

"That mentality is gone in Ireland now and the players expect of themselves -- they'll be the ones who'll be gutted if they don't perform in New Zealand."

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