IF ONLY WE all had the bowl of positivity that Les Kiss has for breakfast.
The Australian has come up with a three-fold plan to beat the Springboks at the Aviva tomorrow – sweet dreams, trench warfare and slicing them on the edges.
Ireland’s backs coach set a scenario at today’s Captain’s Run press conference that brought up visions of him tucking Mike Ross and Richardt Strauss into bed and whispering inspiring words before they drop anchor in blanket bay.
He told TheScore.ie, “We just have to make sure that we set in our heart and our minds tonight, as we go to bed, that we’re up for it and that we’re going to go and take it to them.
“The alternative is that you won’t get it done tomorrow.
“You have to show up with the right mind-set, that you’ll go at these guys and get in the trenches with them, take them down to the trenches and really work them over. “Because, if we do that, we have some wonderful talent.
“We have some guys that we can release on the edges through Jonny [Sexton] and Gordon [D'Arcy]. If we can front up in that area, it’s quite exciting when you think about it.” Kiss added:
We feel confident that we can put a little bit on them. First you have to go to bed tonight and know you’re going to wake up and put everything on the line in that area.
“If you do that, and you get your execution right, we’re going to be in a good place.”
Mix-ups and a lot of gas
Kiss is confident that the Irish players, having come across monster packs in the Heineken Cup, will not baulk at facing up against a Springbok front eight that head coach Declan Kidney admits ‘have a few pounds on all of us’.
“When you look at our team,” said Kiss, “we have guys that have gone up against the biggest guys in Europe, big teams, and we’ve been able to stop them.”
The selection of Pat Lambie in a half-back pairing with Ulster’s Ruan Pienaar suggests that South Africa may go scenic if they tire of route-one.
Kiss guessed South African coach would go with Morne Steyn at 10 but insists that he has a talented ‘insurance policy on the bench’ to back-up Lambie, ‘a handy little player’.
As for the Irish back-three of Simon Zebo, Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble, the Australian praised them as a unit with ‘a lot of gas and a lot of physicality’. He said:
One thing that we don’t do is tie-up the natural talent or instincts of the guys. And, with the ball in the air and testing their wingers, we’ll pick the right time to unleash that line and that back-three power.”
When asked how much Ireland’s selection surprises may throw the Springboks, Kiss joked about JP Pietersen, when he mixed Trimble up with a French out-half.
“I guess that they’ll be analysing Dave Skrela so who knows,” he remarked.
Kiss added, “It was just a slip over the tongue, I’m sure, by JP the other day. He’s a good guy, those things can happen. They’ll be prepared, I’ve no doubt.”