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Video: Ross exit key to loss for Kidney

Ireland coach Declan Kidney yesterday described his side's 30-9 Six Nations defeat to England at Twickenham as "extremely painful".

The St Patrick's Day celebrations were muted after the Irish were put to the sword in a dismal display that condemned them to third place in the championship table.

"That was extremely painful. You never like losing and you never like losing by 30-9, especially on St Patrick's Day against England," Kidney said. "All credit to England, they played well and deserved to win. I know we're better than that, but we were well beaten."

Ireland's downfall owed everything to a scrum that saw them repeatedly driven backwards and concede a penalty try in the second half. It was a demoralising experience that Kidney blamed on a neck injury sustained by tighthead Mike Ross in the opening scrum.

"I wasn't surprised by what happened at the scrum because Mike Ross got a crick on his neck at the first scrum and managed to play for half an hour after that," he said. "Tom Court came on and went valiantly, but our balance was off. It's something we'll have to work on and bring more Irish guys through."

Captain Rory Best refused to make excuses for Ireland's abysmal performance at the scrum and admitted the wounds from yesterday's loss would take some time to heal.

"There's no real hiding from what happened. From the first scrum they were fractionally ahead of us, they took hold of us and didn't let us breathe," he said. "It's bitterly disappointing as a front row and front five. The scrum is something we pride ourselves on.

"We're happy to take the pats on the back when it goes well so equally, when it goes wrong, we must stand up and take responsibility. Unfortunately it will be three months before we get to wear an Irish jersey and it will hurt for all that time. The error count was unacceptable."

Flanker Stephen Ferris complained to referee Nigel Owens that he had been bitten during the first half and subsequently received treatment, but Best denied any knowledge of the incident.

"I know as much as you guys when Stephen went to Nigel. You heard as much as I did," he said.

In contrast, England interim head coach Stuart Lancaster felt his team had been "outstanding in every department".

"At the outset there's a long-term plan, and that revolves around giving a load of young players experience," he said. "I think a lot should be made of their self-belief, they believe in the team, they believe in the direction they're going."

Asked how much he wanted to remain as England boss, he added: "That's for others to decide, but if you said to me I'd be walking around Twickenham applauding 82,000 people with a group of lads I respect and a management group I respect, I would have taken it."

Sunday Indo Sport