Any win will do for Kidney

Date published: March 9 2013

Under-pressure Ireland coach Declan Kidney said he would gladly take a 3-0 win over France in their Six Nations clash in Dublin.

Under-pressure Ireland coach Declan Kidney said he would gladly take a 3-0 win over France in their Six Nations clash in Dublin.

Kidney and his France counterpart Philippe Saint-André are desperate for a win that will ease both the pressure on them and also fears of a wooden spoon.

Kidney at least has one win to his credit this season – victory over last season's Grand Slam winners Wales built around a stunning opening 43 minutes – but two narrow defeats since against England and Scotland has re-opened debate about his future.

“I'd take 3-0,” said the 53-year-old.

“I don't think it will be because the games in the recent past have seen plenty of points scored.

“You can never second guess things in the Six Nations. You are constantly surprised by the way things pan out. I believe the first 20 minutes will decide things. Who settles first will be crucial.”

Kidney, who previously coached Munster to four Heineken Cup finals in two spells there winning two of them, said he knew France were capable of playing far better than they have done already and saw some improvement in their last game against England.

“Against England they ran the ball and kept possession better,” said Kidney.

“They had one or two chances that ran abegging but there was not much in that game between the two teams.

“They were strong up front and I thought they were much more patient than they had been in the matches against Italy and Wales. One freak turnover (which led to England's second-half try by Manu Tuilagi and set them up for a 23-13 win) decided the game.”

For his own part Kidney thought the Irish too had been guilty of pushing too hard and making errors when they were in good positions against both England and Scotland.

“Against England we set ourselves up well and got to level terms. We also put ourselves into good positions,” he said.

“We just needed to execute better and be more patient. Sometimes you can try too hard,” he said.

Kidney was not as encouraged as some in the Irish camp by the selection of the misfiring Frédéric Michalak at fly-half for the French.

“Michalak is a good player who can find openings where others can't and with (Florian) Fritz and Wesley Fofana outside him that could be dangerous for us,' he said.

Ireland skipper Jamie Heaslip, who has also come in for criticism both for his captaincy and his form, denied the Irish were reaching panic stations.

“I wouldn't say we are desperate,” he said.

“We are disappointed with the way the last two games have gone. But we are going out there with a plan and we will activate it with a lot of passion.”

Heaslip said he thought the outcome of the match could be decided in the tussle between the back rows and was looking forward to the challenge.

“We're going to have match their workrate,” he said.