IRELAND COACH DECLAN KIDNEY was delighted with the impact of his wingers Fergus McFadden and Craig Gilroy in a comfortable 53-0 win.
Gilroy was particularly impressive as he scored a hat-trick of tries while McFadden chipped in with a double and played makeshift flanker when Chris Henry was sent to the sin-bin.
“Overall, the first half went OK,” Kidney told RTÉ. ”The third quarter definitely died a lot and we’ll have to take a good look at that because that was the section last week [against South Africa] that cost us.
“We finished strongly but the thing that pleased me most was the defence. Even though we were points ahead we defended stoically.”
He added, “There were a lot of young men out there having their first go and I think it would be wrong to single any one player out.
“There was a fair bit of finishing from some of the backs but there was good work done by the forwards too.”
Putting their hands up
Kidney remarked that Gilroy, who has seen his time at Ulster curtailed by the return of Tommy Bowe, ‘seemed to enjoy it’ at Thomond Park while Luke Marshall, Iain Henderson and Sean Cronin also stood out in a clinical team performance.
He commented, “I’m sure Fergus will remind [Craig] that he was in the scrum that led to one of his tries.
“It was a good team effort and the wingers, well, it’s their job to finish the chances when they come to them. Fair play to him, he took his chances when they came his way.”
The coach confirmed that Jonathan Sexton was a late withdrawal due to a groin strain picked up while taking practice kicks before the match.
He remarked that Samoa’s win over Wales has muddied the world ranking situations and increased the need to defeat Argentina next weekend. He said:
That just makes it clearer that we have to get a win next week to stay in that top eight position. It will be all to play for. We had good support here tonight and hopefully we’ll get it again next week because we are going to need it against a tough Argentinean side.”
“The [young players] are certainly put they’re hand up,” he admitted, “and I guess that will have to be recognised.
“We’ll take a look at the videos and, whether it affects selection or not, we’ll have to wait and see. We won’t pre-empt anything.”