Friday 23 March 2018

Kidney hits out at Crown detractors as team prepare for Scots test

Hugh Farrelly

IRELAND coach Declan Kidney has rubbished the notion of the Triple Crown losing its significance ahead of Saturday's Six Nations clash with Scotland at Croke Park.

Ireland are chasing their fifth clean sweep of the home unions in seven championships on Saturday and, after naming an unchanged side from the one which defeated Wales last weekend, Kidney rounded on those who claim the Triple Crown has lost is lustre.

"A genuine sports supporter would never become blase about winning a Triple Crown," said Kidney.

"Once we start taking things for granted and being blase . . . just look what happened to the economy. The economy took a hit when we were maybe taking things for granted there. We took it for granted, then it was gone.

"The situation of winning a Triple Crown may also be gone in the future. We have a good bunch of players and it would be a terrible shame if we let this opportunity slip though our fingers.

"To me the Triple Crown is huge because in the past I've seen teams that have failed to fulfil themselves," added the head coach ahead of the last match at Croke Park before rugby switches back to the redeveloped Lansdowne Road.

"Coming into the job, people were saying this team is getting old. I thought that if we could be involved in winning anything it would be brilliant. It's something that you dream about being involved in, especially on home soil and as part of a special occasion.

"It's a romantic ending that couldn't be orchestrated -- our last match at Croke Park with a Triple Crown to be won."

Gordon D'Arcy will face a late fitness test this week after bruising his left knee against Wales and, if he fails to come through, Ulster's Paddy Wallace will slot straight in at inside centre.

Irish Independent

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