Wednesday 22 November 2017

Kidney admits team has 'buckets to work on' ahead of Paris

Stephen Ferris
holds his head in
his hands after
conceding a late
penalty and
yellow card to
set up a Wales'
two-point Six
Nations victory
at Lansdowne
Road
Stephen Ferris holds his head in his hands after conceding a late penalty and yellow card to set up a Wales' two-point Six Nations victory at Lansdowne Road
Stephen Ferris upends Ian Evans to concede a last minute penalty

Hugh Farrelly

IRELAND coach Declan Kidney says his side have "buckets to work on" before they take on France next week, following yesterday's last-minute 23-21 defeat by Wales at Lansdowne Road.

France's confident opening victory against Italy leaves Ireland under severe pressure heading to Paris and Kidney says the short turnaround before Saturday's clash adds to the challenge.

"We've buckets to work on and six days to do it," said Kidney.

"I know we are a lot better than that.

"We put ourselves under a lot of pressure defensively, we had to defend for 60pc-plus of the game and if you do that, you are going to ask for trouble."

Defence was the major issue for the home side as Wales crossed for three tries that profited from poor tackling and Kidney put it down to individual rather than structural errors, while also praising the quality of the Welsh attack.

"Structurally, we are okay," he said.

"You have to give credit to Wales, sometimes it is not just all down to you but there are some aspects that we can be disappointed with individually.

"I couldn't give the lads more credit for their attitude. They work extremely hard, and their professionalism I wouldn't question for a minute.

"We have to be smart enough to do the work that needs to be done but wise enough to understand that it is a six-day turnaround."

Kidney also confirmed that Ireland management would be seeking guidance on the yellow card awarded against Stephen Ferris which allowed Leigh Halfpenny to kick the winning penalty.

The flanker appeared to make a legal hit on Ian Evans but was sent to the bin for what was deemed to be a spear tackle.

"We've been asked to work with the referees' manager like we did last year, and we'll try to do it again this year. These are decisions that have to be made.

"We'll take a good look at what we can solve ourselves first -- we gave Wales easy field position. There's definitely aspects that we'll work on and let the powers that be look at everything else."

Captain Paul O'Connell said he did not believe the Ferris incident was the reason Ireland lost the match.

"I was next to Stephen when it happened and I didn't think there was a problem straight away but I don't think that was the winning of the game," said O'Connell.

"Defensively, whatever about conceding scores, we are conceding a lot of ground, a lot of yardage.

"I don't think the six-day turnaround will be an issue, we have experienced guys who are well used to this with their provinces."

Warren Gatland, who said Bradley Davies should have been red-carded for his tackle on Donnacha Ryan, acknowledged that his side were fortunate to come away with the win.

"We've got to prepare for him (Davies) being cited," said Gatland. "I try to be honest and I have seen the replay and it doesn't look brilliant.

"We were reasonably lucky in that game. We have been unlucky in the past, when we have lost games in the last few minutes.

"I don't think we played as well as we could. When we get it right we're going to be good.

"To come here and be under a bit of pressure and down to 14 men, I think we showed a lot of character," he added.

Irish Independent

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