Monday 23 October 2017

England beware

Wounded ireland will bounce back, warns ferris

Niall Crozier

IRELAND'S battered rugby stars know that once today and tomorrow's time-out is over they are in for a tough 10 days as they bid to pick up the pieces.

With England at Twickenham on February 27 their next big test, the players know to expect some serious soul-searching when they report to the Cork training camp on Wednesday.

Predicting what that's likely to entail, Gordon D'Arcy said: "It will be a fairly honest week I'd say."

Having just suffered his first Six Nations Championship defeat, coach Declan Kidney faces the difficult job of trying to raise deflated spirits and battered pride. It will be the biggest challenge of his man-management skills since taking up the Irish head coach reins.

Kidney admitted his side will have suffered psychologically as a result of Saturday's defeat.

"But you don't fail if you fall down. You fail if you don't get back up. That's what we have to do -- pick ourselves back up," he said.

"It probably could be done in easier places than Twickenham," he said with a smile, adding: "This job always gets easier, doesn't it?"

But Kidney will be heartened by the response of Stephen Ferris.

Having lost to France -- Ireland's first defeat in 13 matches, a run stretching back to November 2008 -- the Ulster blindside tried to put things in perspective.

"You don't suddenly become a bad side as a result of losing one match," he insisted.

In addition to that heavy defeat in Paris, Kidney has injury concerns. Skipper Brian O'Driscoll was hobbling after the match and had a huge ice-pack applied to his left knee. Full-back Rob Kearney, who exited before half-time, has a knee problem, too.

"If there was a match next week I'd say there could be a problem. But given that we have two weeks until the next one, here's hoping," Kidney said.

With England having won two out of two, albeit that yesterday's 17-12 victory over Italy in Rome was far from impressive, they now share top spot with the French.

Meanwhile, hooker Jerry Flannery is in danger of missing the rest of the Six Nations with a citing expected today relating to his challenge on winger Alexis Palisson during the defeat on Saturday.

Source: Belfast Telegraph

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