IRELAND WOULD GLADLY take a 3-0 win over France in their Six Nations clash tomorrow, said under-pressure coach Declan Kidney earlier.
Kidney and his France counterpart Philippe Saint-Andre are desperate for a win that will ease both the pressure on them and also fears of a wooden spoon.
Kidney at least has one win to his credit this season — victory over last season’s Grand Slam winners Wales built around a stunning opening 43 minutes — but two narrow defeats since against England and Scotland has re-opened debate about his future. Thus it was in the same spirit that Kidney agreed with Saint-Andre, whose side have yet to register a win and are in danger of their first wooden spoon since 1957, that the narrowest of victories would suffice.
“I’d take 3-0 as well,” said the 53-year-old. “I don’t think it will be because the games in the recent past have seen plenty of points scored.
“You can never second guess things in the Six Nations. You are constantly surprised by the way things pan out. I believe the first 20 minutes will decide things. Who settles first will be crucial.”
Kidney said he knew France were capable of playing far better than they have done already and saw some improvement in their last game against England.
“Against England they ran the ball and kept possession better,” said Kidney. “They had one or two chances that ran abegging but there was not much in that game between the two teams. They were strong up front and I thought they were much more patient than they had been in the matches against Italy and Wales. One freak turnover (which led to England’s second-half try by Manu Tuilagi and set them up for a 23-13 win) decided the game.”
For his own part Kidney thought the Irish too had been guilty of pushing too hard and making errors when they were in good positions against both England and Scotland.
“Against England we set ourselves up well and got to level terms. We also put ourselves into good positions,” he said. “We just needed to execute better and be more patient. Sometimes you can try too hard,” he said.