Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kidney’s men focus their attention on the All Blacks

IRISH coach Declan Kidney has insisted that there is no shortage of confidence in the team as the focus switches to Saturday’s mammoth autumn international showdown with New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium (5.35pm).

Ireland ended their six-match losing streak when stuttering to a 20-10 victory over Samoa last weekend, but the performance did little to suggest they have turned a corner. The in-form All Blacks will fancy their chances of maintaining their unbeaten record against Ireland in Dublin this Saturday, but coach Kidney insists morale remains healthy.
“Anxiety will always be there when you’ve lost a few matches,” Declan Kidney said.
“We were a bit anxious going into Samoa. The first 20 minutes went well but then they scored their try and the anxiety crept in a little bit. When you’re winning you take it for granted, when you’re losing it’s bound to bite. It wasn’t exactly an attractive game against Samoa but we managed to win and after the last six matches that’s a plus. We have to sit down and admit that bit needs a bit of work and that bit needs some improvement. The more matches you win, the higher the confidence will be.
“Our confidence will be a bit better going into Saturday than it was coming into Samoa. I don’t think the confidence is that bad.”
Ireland delayed naming their starting line-up to face New Zealand until this Thursday. New Zealand will approach Saturday’s match invigorated by their 49-3 demolition of Scotland and Kidney accepts they are formidable opposition.
“Every team that plays New Zealand has to play at the top of their ability to get the better of them,” he said.
“They’re the best team in the world and are motoring well.”
Ireland’s cause this autumn has not been helped by poor attendances at Aviva Stadium, with only 30,955 turning up to see Samoa beaten in such unconvincing fashion.
Kidney insists the small crowds inevitably have an effect on the players.
“If you arrive at the ground 75 minutes before kick off and it’s half-full, then it’s three-quarters full when you’re warming up and then it’s a full house when you come out, the adrenaline flows more freely,” Kidney said.
Ireland lock Donnacha Ryan is ruled out of Ireland’s final two games in the autumn international series after being handed a three-week ban for a stamping offence committed during the latter stages of Saturday’s win over Samoa.
Ryan’s case was heard by an independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee on Tuesday which found that the offence merited a mid-range punishment in IRB sanctions.
The player’s exemplary disciplinary record and good conduct at the hearing saw his punishment reduced.
Ryan, who has a right of appeal, was a 69th-minute replacement for Devin Toner in the 20-10 win over Samoa.
Meanwhile, the latest Guinness Area 22 event, hosted by Matt Cooper, of The Last Word and TV3, takes place on this Thursday, November 18 at Peter Clohessy’s Bar, ahead of the upcoming Guinness Series clash with the All Blacks.
Matt Cooper will be joined by current Munster and Ireland star Tomás O’Leary, Shane Horgan, and regular Last Word rugby panellists, Neil Francis and Paul Wallace. The first half hour of the event, from 6.30pm to 7pm, will be broadcast live on the Last Word on Today FM, and the entire event will be streamed live on and

Colm Kinsella


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