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Kiss calls on replacements to do 'the right kind of damage' on organised England

This coaching team is determined to keep second half performances on the up.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

IRELAND HEAD FOR Twickenham this weekend as the leaders of the Six Nations Championship table; two convincing wins out of two and without a single try against to blot their copybooks.

Still, that’s no reason for this coaching team to be happy with the work done so far. 

“So far, so good,” agrees defence coach Les Kiss, before quickly washing the achievement away.

“We’ve played two home games and I would have expected nothing less to tell you the truth.”

One of the areas which Joe Schmidt freely admitted was an area for improvement in his tenure, is Ireland’s performance during the second 40 minutes of games. Ireland teams had been wilting and giving up leads long before November’s late loss to New Zealand.

Two-fifths of the way through this Championship Ireland have won their second halves 17 – 3 and 13 -3 respectively. There is undoubted improvement, but Kiss and Schmidt have had time to sift through the minute details of the resounding win over the defending champions, time to nit pick so that this team does not consider standing still.

“We’ve had a big focus on making sure our reserves and subs have to be well prepared, have to be on top of a game to close it out,” Kiss said today.
“I think they’ve improved. Against Scotland we were pretty efficient. Last game out against Wales there was some good impact, but the truth is, we still have seven or eight defensive system errors with out reserves and we need that to improve.

“You can not afford to come on a pitch and give the opposition a bit of an option, particularly in a tight game.

“It’s still a big focus for us. The fact we’ve done well in the last two doesn’t guarantee us [anything]. We need to be on the ball and our subs are an integral part of making sure we have the right kind of damage we want to do the opposition, but still making sure that we’re still running the plan and the system as we would plan to.”

Kiss has spent the past 10 days or so running his eye over the English attack. In all probability, he will once again tailor the gameplan from the one which accounted for last season’s champions to tackle the runners-up.

“I think the biggest difference is that England will play to their maul and play to their scrum a lot more. They’re not afraid to kick to touch in a defensive mode. Wales like to kick the ball to stay in, then play and use the momentum players – through from Toby Faletau to [Jamie] Roberts and [George] North out wide.

“England are probably a little bit more structured and it does become a challenge, but we’ve looked at it, we’ve done our analysis…”


At that, Kiss reined in his insight and instead mentions that they have more training to do this week. But he is in no doubt that the hosts in Twickenham will present a variety of threats to be reckoned with on a day he says England “can’t afford to lose”.

“I think they have a really solid, organised approach to their attack and by having that it allows the brilliance of some of the individuals to come out to the fore.
“You can certainly see, Jack Nowell for example, has been encouraged to throw himself into certain moments of the game that may look a little unstructured, but they accept that as part of it.

“Danny Care is playing off the cuff a little bit more. A lot of their organisation does come around [Owen] Farrell orchestrating the movement.

“Then, when you’ve got somebody like [Mike] Brown and [Billy] Twelvetrees, they can switch their game to somewhere else, it’s part of their acceptance of the structure that allows that to happen. They will eke it out and look for the weaknesses and mismatches in your defence. so we just need to have our heads up this week.”

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Sean Farrell

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