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Kidney: Lessons will be learned after this

Declan Kidney cut a disappointed figure after seeing his Ireland side lose to Wales in their Six Nations opener on Sunday. George Hook, meanwhile, was scathing.
Feb 5th 2012, 5:39 PM 3,980 28

IRELAND COACH DECLAN Kidney admitted his disappointment at his team’s late, late defeat to Wales on Sunday, and says that lessons need to be learned before the clash against France in Paris next Saturday.

Tries from Rory Best and Tommy Bowe had seen the Irish assume a commanding lead, but a brilliant effort from George North and Leigh Halfpenny’s late, disputed penalty proved the home side’s undoing.

“It’s really disappointing to finish off that way, and we’re just going to have to work through it for next weekend,” said the former Munster coach.

“We had the ball for long periods of time and we didn’t build on the points we did get.

Kidney added: “We got ten points ahead early in the second half and never pressed home that advantage. We have to make sure that we do build on those occasions when we get ahead.

“We pressed well but once we got inside their half there were a lot of very static rucks. We really need to be a ruthless in those positions.

“It’s like everything else in life, we work our way through and take our lessons from it.”

Kidney, speaking to RTE, refused to be drawn on whether major changes would be made for the clash against France.

“Emotions are running high but we’ll look at the videos over the next 24 hours and make our decisions based on that, rather than being kneejerk about it. Everybody’s in the mix (for Paris).”

Paul O’Connell, captain of the Irish side, felt that a lack of concentration in the team’s defence proved its undoing towards the end of the game.

“With five minutes to go you would have fancied us to win it – we put ourselves in a position to win it, but unfortunately we didn’t close it out.”

“The way we played in the first half was disappointing, but our defence played well. When we did have the ball and played at pace and with intensity, we were very good, and we did put ourselves in a position to win it, we just didn’t close it out.”

“Towards the end we didn’t defend with our heads up and that was disappointing and frustrating, it gave them the chance to put us under a lot of pressure.”

Television pundit George Hook, meanwhile, was damning about Ireland’s performance and stuck the boot into Kidney, in particular.

“This was an incredibly callow performance from Ireland. Ferris, Heaslip and O’Brien are mismatched, and they’re not the best back row in the world. Kidney stands indicted by that performance,” said Hook.

“He’s not very imaginative and his teams reflect his attitude.”

As it happened: Ireland v Wales, Six Nations Championship >

The game in pictures >

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Tony Cuddihy


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