Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

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darkside lightside
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Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by darkside lightside » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:10 pm

When EOS was deposed, I must say my preference was for replacing him with an outsider, someone like Jake White or Pat Howard, who would come in and look at things with fresh eyes, and try to change the mindset and parochialism of Irish rugby. I wasn’t that convinced by the choice of Kidney, but was a little mollified by his choice of staff, and his apparent willingness to delegate and discuss (a major shortcoming of EOS reign). And in fairness, when he (and Kiss and Smal) went on to deliver a Grand Slam the next year, I was starting to think that actually he was exactly the right guy to get Ireland up and running..

Hmmm.. the last 6 nations took the gloss off pretty comprehensively – we were badly found out. We never really looked capable of controlling matches, never really dominated possession, looked unimaginative and short of cutting edge, and kicked too much away – depending on our defence to squeeze our way to victory, like the last year, but unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as effective, with France in particular taking it apart time after time. I was uncomfortably reminded of watching Ireland under EOS – over-structured, no plan B, scared rugby..

With the benefit of hindsight, I don’t think this Irish group finally hit their peak in 2009 after all – they should have done in 2007, if EOS hadn’t so royally focked everything up. 2008 was a lost year, the straw that broke the camel’s back, and 2009 now looks like an upward blip on a downward trajectory – due to a freshness in the set-up, defensive system that gelled excellently and a couple of players hitting great form.

It papered over the cracks, and looking at this tour right now, the squad he’s picked, and on the back of the biggest beating ever in our inglorious history against NZ, I’m not convinced we’re much further towards building a group capable of being competitive at the next 6 nations, never mind the world cup. He pays lip service to building a deeper squad, but generally doesn’t make changes until injury forces his hand – and he seems to have adopted the EOS approach to substitutions (i.e. 70 mins if at all).

The 2009 success came by tweaking a few things and brushing things up – success in 2011 is only going to come by completely reinventing things, and frankly I’m not sure we have the time, or the head coach, to do it…
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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Neil F » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:30 pm

I feel this is overly negative but you do raise some valid points. You hit on my worry when Kidney first took the job - that he has never really "built" a side, as it were; he did well in two stints with Munster with what were two very stable sides (let's not forget that many of Munster's current big hitters came to the fore during Kidney's time away). I don't think he has yet proven that he can build sides - just manage existing ones really well. To me, this is something that Kidney has yet to prove but it doesn't mean that he is incapable of doing it.

That said, I think Kidney is building towards the world cup and the future. Just because he's not capping players left, right and centre or saying that the world cup is his focus, like, say, Lievremont, doesn't mean that it isn't where his focus lies. I think it's all very well saying that a certain player, or players, are past it but that doesn't answer the question that Kidney has to answer; who is better? Who could be better? This is a rather overt reference to the tighthead problem but, let's face it, until Saturday, who thought Buckley was capable? And, indeed, one game that suited Buckley's strengths does not yet prove that he is capable...

Hayes is in terminal decline, of that there should be no doubt but should we castigate Kidney for not choosing someone else? I've said this in other threads and I will repeat - if Hayes does nothing for 80 minutes apart from lifts someone in the lineout and prevents the Irish scrum going backwards faster than it otherwise would then he's doing a better job than any of the other options have, thus far, proven themselves capable of doing. Buckley can carry and he can offload but that is not what props are primarily there to do. We need a replacement for Hayes but we should not judge Kidney's 'conservatism' here on anything other than an absolute paucity of other options.

Not that some of his selections are beyond criticism - his perserverence with O'Leary, for example, and the fact that Stringer has been kept around international squads are two big examples here. In that respect, we do see Kidney's inherent conservatism but I think that stems from the choice of players who are best equipped to implement the game plan Kidney wants implemented; O'Leary and D'Arcy are probably better equipped than Reddan, Stringer and Boss, or Paddy Wallace. When he's in good form, O'Leary is some distance clear of any of Ireland's other scrum-halves; that shouldn't be forgotten, either. In positions where game-plan comes into it a little less, particularly in the back-three, Kidney has shown himself willing to change and change regularly.

What could be suggested is that Kidney's game plan doesn't immediately play to Ireland's strengths but I don't think this Ireland team, despite the talented backline, has yet shown that they can cut teams apart. To me, the game against Scotland at Croke Park showed exactly why Ireland shouldn't try to run the ball wide at every opportunity. There are talented backs there, of course, but if Ireland can't win games playing that way, then it is senseless to play like that.

I think Kidney took a big gamble in 2009 - he could have begun building for a World Cup immediately but he clearly said, "This group of players is capable." He had to deliver that Grand Slam in 2009. If he hadn't, 2009 would have been a wasted year and people would have been questioning him immediately. It was a risk that I didn't want him to take, I must confess; I thought the rebuilding should have begun immediately (although I also suggested that it might worth dropping O'Driscoll and I celebrated like hell when Ireland took the GS home)... At this point; I think it's obvious that there is rebuilding going on - O'Sullivan would probably have had Easterby out of retirment before he'd have capped McLaughlin in the Six Nations. Where there isn't rebuilding going on is, I fear, much more to do with the lack of depth in Ireland than anything else.

It has been a poor season for Ireland but rebuilding, following O'Sullivan's reign of terror, will be a lot more than capping anyone and everyone and seeing what happened. Under O'Sullivan, there remained a big gap between provincial and international players. The first thing Kidney has had to do is to begin doing what he can to close that gap. I think he's made a reasonable start on that.

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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Jackie Brown » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:55 pm

It's his selections rather than his results that wind me up.

Mick O'Driscoll, Peter Stringer, John Hayes to name a few. These boys are past it, yet he'll still include them or even play them ahead of the future, Boss, Buckley and Tuohy. Nothing ventured, nothing gained but he'll still revert back to his usual tried and failed stalwarts of Irish Rugby.

He won the Grand Slam with EOS team, we really needed a new coach from outside the establishment. Irish Rugby is far to incestuous both at Provincial and International level.
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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Neil F » Mon Jun 14, 2010 3:07 pm

Jackie;

I wonder how many Irish rugby supporters, provincial loyalties aside, would have wanted Tuohy to start last Saturday? Indeed, is it even desirable that Tuohy's first senior Ireland cap would be a start against the All Blacks in New Plymouth? The selection of Mick O'Driscoll, I think, was more pragmatic than conservative. If Tuohy doesn't play against Australia, regardless of Mick's injury status, then I think we have a right to complain. Let's not forget that, at best, Tuohy is fourth in the pecking order, behind O'Connell, O'Callaghan and Cullen, with an argument that he'd also be behind Donncha Ryan. The selection of Mick O'Driscoll made sense to me, even if his quality has always been questionable and his performance poor.

As far as I'm concerned, Buckley hasn't yet proven himself to be the future; even for a prop, 29 is old to be coming to maturity and he still isn't really capable of holding down a starting berth at Munster, despite all that has been said about the decline of Hayes. Why suggest Kidney is conservative for not selecting Buckley at international level but not bring the fact that McGahan isn't selecting him at provincial level into it? Is McGahan also an overly conservative coach or is there more to this?

I accept the Stringer v Boss argument. I can only speculate that there are similiarites between O'Leary, Reddan and Boss, while Stringer is a totally different sort of scrum-half, and Kidney likes to have that different option in the squad and at training. That said, at 30 years of age, and with five caps to rub together, I don't think Boss is really 'the future'; O'Leary at 26 and the likes of O'Donohoe and maybe Willis or Porter, are the serious future.

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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by promsandwich » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:13 pm

I wonder how many Irish rugby supporters, provincial loyalties aside, would have wanted Tuohy to start last Saturday? Indeed, is it even desirable that Tuohy's first senior Ireland cap would be a start against the All Blacks in New Plymouth?
Not being overly critical here, but these 2 questions IMO sum up what is wrong with our attitude in the Northern hemisphere. Why would it be undesirable for Tuohy to get his first cap against the ABs? Isn't that the very game in which you would like to find out whether he is up to it or not? Or do you think it would be better to wait, until say, the world cup quarter finals in order to find out?

Part of the problem is that players on the way up in Ireland, particularly during the EOS era, get very few opportunities to stake a claim. Why is Buckley only getting a chance at 29. Even if he had got a game at 25 which exposed his limitations then at least you could see what he had to work on.

The sooner we take a leaf out of Australia's book the better. If they are good enough they are old enough and it shouldn't matter who you are playing against.

Maybe DK is seeing this - so glad to see Ruddock called up as opposed to an SOS for Quinlan. That is progress as far as I'm concerned.

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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Neil F » Mon Jun 14, 2010 5:41 pm

Prom; I think it depends how one looks at it; my view is that, in a team already shorn of four first-choice forwards and several replacement forwards, throwing Tuohy in wouldn't teach the player, or the management team, much at all. When you see Australia throwing a 19 year-old into a starting team, they tend to do so into an otherwise full-strength, or close to full-strength, side; this was Ireland far from being at full-strength. Players that have made a big impact during Kidney's reign, like Ferris and Earls, were similarly introduced into otherwise strong teams. The team that took to the park last Saturday was not, by any stretch, a strong side. In that sense, I think having Tuohy on the bench was probably the right call.

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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by promsandwich » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:20 pm

Prom; I think it depends how one looks at it; my view is that, in a team already shorn of four first-choice forwards and several replacement forwards, throwing Tuohy in wouldn't teach the player, or the management team, much at all. When you see Australia throwing a 19 year-old into a starting team, they tend to do so into an otherwise full-strength, or close to full-strength, side; this was Ireland far from being at full-strength. Players that have made a big impact during Kidney's reign, like Ferris and Earls, were similarly introduced into otherwise strong teams. The team that took to the park last Saturday was not, by any stretch, a strong side. In that sense, I think having Tuohy on the bench was probably the right call.
Neil F, I pretty much agree with what you are saying about putting players into an otherwise full strength side. I suppose the only difficulty that we have had with this in recent years is that we have been challenging for the 6 Nations and the coaches have maybe felt that it was easier not to experiment too much. I just have the feeling, and you may or may not agree, that our coach should be a little bolder with experimentation. We have quite a few players coming to the end of their careers - BOD, D'Arcy, Murphy, Hayes to name a few - and we have good players available - Muldoon, McFadden, Duffy, not to mention Tuohy. I just think some of our guys need to be given the opportunity at an earlier stage to demonstrate what they can bring to the table.

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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Shan » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:42 pm

Agree with Neil F and RHH. It is too early to be writing Kidney's obituary just yet. That said he was in the right place at the right time for the Grand Slam when a more than decent squad got through the year without injuries in areas we had no cover and BOD was at his best dragging us over the line in some of the games. Kidney is a motivator and a tactician of high order.

We didn't have the same fortune this year with injuries and with our small player base this will hurt a lot. Our problems are almost all up front. Take out Hayes and you have no experienced THP. This is the IRFU and their provinces fault for allowing foreign props to occupy postions at both Ulster and Leinster. We are unlucky at Hooker because both Fla and Best have been injured more or less for the whole season or suspended in Fla's case. You don't expect to lose both of them. MOK has played well for Leinster recently, good for Leinster not for Ireland. When you lose both Ferris and Leamy at the same time you are going to be in trouble and Sean O'Brien being out didn't help either.

People go on about TOL and I am not trying to say he has played really well but how many good scrum halves have managed to shine behind a beaten pack? If you look at some of the top scrum halves of the recent past(not comparing TOL with these) the likes of Dawson, Elissalde/Yachvili, Du Preez, Kelleher, Gregan all played behind dominant packs or totally dominant back rows in Gregan's case. TOL is not an out and out natural 9 like these but he can do a very good job when we are on the front foot as we've seen for both Munster and Ireland.

We'll never get our back line motoring with ROG at 10 but when Sexton plays you are potentially giving up the control from 10 as Sexton still needs to develop further in this regard. For the record I'd play Sexton in every game regardless of the opposition provided he is fit. He needs the games and is going to create something that ROG cannot create. I think Kidney makes a mistake on this one and ROG hardly needs the practice.

Kidney is in a balls of a position though because with the way we are at the moment he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Take fullback for example. In a world with only the Australia game a consideration Murphy is selected. Kidney has to think about the long term though and only if he believes Murphy can truly compete to be our starting 15 at the RWC can he be selected unless Kearney is not fit.

Kidney has a real job on his hands because he will know as well as anybody that some of our players have already begun their descent but there are no/ not enough alternatives available. In Hayes' case he should not even be thought of when contemplating the RWC but we don't have 2 TH's that you'd send ahead of him right now. Buckley for me is a yes despite the scrummaging questions but who is the other one?

Some people were on here and other forums moaning about Cronin making a mistake or two on Saturday and blaming him for the first try. The same ones doing this are the very ones who complain about coaches not selecting unproven or inexperienced players. FFS players are going to make errors and we will benefit long term if the player is mentally strong enough. I have no such worries with Cronin. He just needs the clowns to give him a break and some time.

I have no issue with criticism of experienced and proven internationals who make ridiculously silly errors. I engage in this type of criticism myself but I like to take a different view/approach with the players who are uncapped or only capped a handful of times. One simply has to accept that errors will be made and it is a learning experience for them as they will be desperate not to repeat the error and also try to bear in mind the long term benefits of exposing these players to high intensity and high pressure situations.

What I would say is that Kidney does have to prove himself that he can get a squad to the World Cup that can comapete t the level we expect. Last year we were the best in Europe, now we are ranked 5 in the world. The semi final is our target at the World Cup and anything less than the quarter final will be a huge failure for Kidney. This is where he should be judged although I know I'll have a moan about him now and then over the next year or so. :)
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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Neil F » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:43 pm

I largely agree with this post (although not about Duffy; he'll be 29 at the start of next season - I think the future is more with the likes of Carr, Jones and, dare I say, Smith). How much of that blame lies with Kidney, though? How much of it is to do with the long-lasting structural effects of O'Sullivan's tenure or, indeed, the nature of Northern Hemisphere rugby? Okay, the second one of those is a bit of a wooly argument but the first isn't. I said earlier in this thread that under O'Sullivan, there was a significant gap between the good provincial players (Roger Wilson, for example) and the internationals. I think, and certainly hope, that this is closing under Kidney.

Under O'Sullivan, much of a whole generation of good players were lost to the international game forever; either because they never had their chance or because the chance they got was in a game where the Ireland team was short of 10+ regular starters. Again, I think Kidney is doing some good work in preventing that happening again. Kidney has capped a lot of players, but not in the arbitrary caps for caps sake that O'Sullivan seemed to, and has given some of those (McLaughlin, for example) in the pressure situation of a 6 Nations.

One of the big issues here is that Kidney has only been in the job for two years. Irish rugby moves a lot slower than it does in places with much larger playing pools and two years probably isn't long enough to make up for 7 years of absolute conservatism under O'Sullivan. Kidney is, however, coming into the job on the back of a couple of very talented age-group teams; whether those young guys coming through should be given a chance right away, I don't know; I think that we need players to establish themselves at provincial level first, however.

I think it's too soon to judge Kidney's ability to build up this squad but I am reasonable encouraged with what I've seen (not least in the call going out to Ruddock, for example) but he still has much to prove. Waiting and seeing isn't an option, however, because the last thing we need is to see two more excellent generations of players washed down the international sink hole. Ireland simply can't afford to lose these generations of players again.

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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by cables » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:08 pm

I would not be surprised if two big factors in the call-up of Ruddock were location and being in training.

Argentina to NZ is around half of the travel time of Europe - NZ. I know it is being spun as an opportunity being given but I don't believe it is just that.
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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by backawaygoonahead » Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:15 pm

There are a lot of seriously good points made on this thread and I don't think that anyone has a monopoly on the rights & wrongs of the matter but I don't buy the title.

My opinion is that with Ireland's place in world rugby - a small pool of talent who are improving the depth in general but still facing real struggles in particular positions - we are not actually a country who can viably "build" towards world cups as the major SH teams try to do.

England consistently fool themselves that they are doing the same, seem hopelessy inept at it and yet they have a win & a final in the last 2 RWCs to show for it. Their win was based on a genuinely strong talented team with a points machine to win games. The final was acheived with a very limited squad which was apparently in disarray and semi=open revolt within the squad & management.

How did they make the final last time despite humiliation to SA along the way? I believe the answer is that they do have a very deep pool of "decent" players - not world beaters but when it comes down to a tournament situation like the RWC where the games come faster than the 5 in 6/7 weeks of the 6N, the strength in depth shows.

We don't have that, never have had, but I am convinced that we are on the right track and that, with the obvious problem areas excepted, we have far greater levels of talent than ever and there do appear to be many many talented young players coming through in all provinces.

As a result,in my 5th decade of watching Ireland, I have always and still do believe that Irish coaches priority has always been and still should be to get their best 15/22 on the pitch for the next game. We have simply never had the depth to talent to "Build" a team.

Someone made the point that Deccie won the grand slam in 2009 with EOS's team. I think the truth is more that EOS squandered many chances to win the GS with Deccie's team given that it is only the last few seasons when more Leinster players started to appear in a larger numbers in very much a Munster based team.

I firmly believe Deccie is the man for the job and that had he been in EOS's place 5 years earlier we would have had more than 1 GS to show for the past decades excellence. EOS wasted the "golden generation" in my book, Deccie got the reigns to late -a bit like Brown and Blair to an extent.

There have been thoughts that younger players should "get their chance" and I don't disagree in principle - but the young Australians who are being played this summer are without exception first choice players at their S14 team. That is the key fact. I don't believe that players such as McFadden at Leinster should be hurried into the Ireland team when he can't shift BOD or D'Arcy from his club team. The Aussies don't pick out a kid & say lets see how he goes -the guy earns his way onto the team through his S14 efforts and thats the way we should be too.

I also believe that this tour was doomed in terms of development with so many frontliners missing from the party. I won't name them again but look at the back row - you go into the test with Wallace Heaslip & Muldoon and think thats not bad but you have Leamey & Ferris at home, you have McLaughlin & OBrien at home & then you could also have had Donncha Ryan in there- but he too was at home. So a position of quality in depth becomes stretched to the limit and then Muldoon gets crocked.

The main difference between last season & this in my opinion is that last season we were practically injury free giving Deccie the luxury to pick who he wanted with great results compared to this year when it has been a nightmare we are not equipped to deal with.

A final thought or two: it has been suggested that Deccie is very conservative. In fact he regularly brought in guys at Munster when he decided that a players time had come - no sentiment for the faithful servant - just bang, you're not first choice any more, he doesn't do it on a whim or because others suggest it but when he think s the time is right.

Stringer/ TOL is a classic example, the change was made and stayed made. Not that Stringer was forgotten, when Ireland are struggling to close the deal in Cardiff last year - having saved the game with an uncharacteristic break for Heaslip's try at Murrayfield - enter Peter Stringer.

I never tire of telling my mates, when they rubbish Stringer in true Ulster fashion, that no other 9 in the country would have hit ROG so perfectly and with the length of pass to give him time to win the match & GS.

The other side of things is Bull Hayes. It isn't sentiment that keeps the Bull in the shirt - nobody was rubbishing him last season. Sadly I think the dear old bloke (the nicest of men on the 2 occasions I have met him - perhaps 2nd only to DOC) has finally found the downside of the hill and this year hasn't been good but even then think back to England aTwickenham & Croker against Wales - he did his job yet again. Sadly, this year, he has been the best TH we have had and Deccie has continued to pick him, simple.

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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by darkside lightside » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:25 am

So much has been said here (and all of it good stuff) that I can't really respond to it all line by line - I just think that winning the GS gave him a lot of 'capital', by which I mean put him in a position of strength from where he had scope to basically do what he wanted. And there were broadly 2 approaches he could have taken (i) continue to focus on bringing essentially the XV that won the GS to the WC, with only patching up done along the way, or (ii) take a fresh cold look at all of the players we have at our disposal, with a focus on identifying potential, and ways to mitigate areas of weakness.

Note that (ii) doesn't necessarily mean doing daft things like Lievremont's scatter-gun selections of 2009, or dropping POC and BOD or anything - just to get all of those straw men out of the way...

EOS would have plumped unhesitatingly for (i). I personally would go for (ii). And despite paying lip service to widening the group etc, I think that DK has been unable to resist (i), because he is innately conservative. My problem is that conservatism of this type is not the same thing as ‘not risky’ – in fact I think that it is a profound misreading of risk. As just one example, concentrating all exposure to international rugby to just 20 players on the basis that capping untried players is ‘risky’ merely increases the reliance on the ongoing fitness and form of these 20 players.

Pretty much any example of new caps he has given have been imposed on him by injury. And it's a sad indictment of where we have ended up as Irish fans that such straightforward selections as Sexton over ROG last November against SA seemed dangerously radical...

And as someone pointed out on lfans.com, having gone for (i) and picking the ‘first’ XV for every match, then we need to be targeting wins every game – and this has not been delivered, most spectacularly on Saturday..

And I agree with promsandwich above re Australia – in fact the more I watch international rugby, the more I like the example of Australia. No matter the fact that they often have weakesses somewhere or other through the squad, they have tons of bottle, always seem to go out thinking they have a chance, play confidently with their heads up and change things up if they aren’t working – and they unabashedly pick guys who are playing well, regardless of age, reputation whatever. I find it so refreshing that they don’t treat young guys like babies – if they’re good enough they pick them, and expect them to man up and deliver.

My ideal would be coaches to make us more like Australia – open-minded, confident selections playing open-minded, confident rugby.

Maybe I am being too negative (I certainly hope so) but I have a gnawing suspicion that come WC time we’ll be watching a tired, over-coached, ageing team failing to keep pace with the real contenders..
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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Shan » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:54 am

darkside lightside wrote:
EOS would have plumped unhesitatingly for (i). I personally would go for (ii). And despite paying lip service to widening the group etc, I think that DK has been unable to resist (i), because he is innately conservative.
There is no denying that he is conservative but I think there is a big difference from EOS. EOS wouldn't change personnel because he didn't trust untried players. DK doesn't make many changes because he really trusts the players he does know well. I think that shows the big difference and why DK could win the GS where EOS failed. In other words DK gives players the belief and confidence that they can do it while EOS is afraid of losing and this gets into the player's heads.

darkside lightside wrote: And I agree with promsandwich above re Australia – in fact the more I watch international rugby, the more I like the example of Australia. No matter the fact that they often have weakesses somewhere or other through the squad, they have tons of bottle, always seem to go out thinking they have a chance, play confidently with their heads up and change things up if they aren’t working – and they unabashedly pick guys who are playing well, regardless of age, reputation whatever. I find it so refreshing that they don’t treat young guys like babies – if they’re good enough they pick them, and expect them to man up and deliver.

My ideal would be coaches to make us more like Australia – open-minded, confident selections playing open-minded, confident rugby.
It would be great to be like Australia but we have a different mindset in Ireland. We are not born to win like the Aussies and do not possess the natural confidence and requisite arrogance that they have. Also of course we don't have anything like the funding the Australians make available for their sporting authorities which allows them to train youngsters in a professional manner so they are ready to go from a very early age. We still think of sport as fun and a pasttime but for the Aussies it is more like a business and almost a way of proving your nationality.
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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Neil F » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:08 pm

In the last Six Nations, Ireland used 29 players. A few were utterly forced - Donncha Ryan and Sean Cronin both come to mind. But selecting Trimble against Italy wasn't forced; replacing Ferris for Italy was forced but do you think that O'Sullivan would have chosen McLaughlin in the same situation? - I'd say more likely than not, Neil Best, or Alan Quinlan would have got the call had O'Sullivan still been at the helm. Kidney got a look at both Court and Buckley in the 6 Nations - O'Sullivan didn't grace an in form Bryan Young with the same belief in 2007 and barely trusted Simon Best. The same reasoning goes for his selection against Scotland at Murrayfield in the Grandslam season. These are all things that O'Sullivan would never have done.

I agree with you, and Shan, that Kidney is fairly conservative by nature but he is a totally different beast to O'Sullivan. When you look at the complete aversion to progress that O'Sullivan showed during his tenure - I think perfectly summed up in bringing Reggie Corrigan back into the international arena - it simply doesn't compare to Kidney. O'Sullivan lost Horan and went for a spent provincial player; Kidney lost Horan, went to Healy and hasn't looked back. It's not a massive difference but these reactions in a similar situation show where the coaches are different.

I would like to think that Kidney has a plan that he is implementing over a couple of seasons. I think the trouble with this is that we won't know for a couple of seasons whether he is, or not but I, personally, have seen enough to believe that he is.

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Setanta
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Re: Declan Kidney – the amazing diminishing rugby coach

Post by Setanta » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:58 pm

I think we should count our blessings! You could be English - they have the players and the depth but their selection is rubbish, their tactics are limited and their rugby boring. In comparison we punch above our weight and even when things go badly being an Irish (or an Ulster) supporter is never predictable or boring!
From the rolling glens of Antrim through the hills of Donegal we will stand and shout for Ulster as we win both scrum and maul from the lovely lakes of Fermanagh tae the shores of ould Lough Gall we will scream and shout for Ulster as we beat them one and all!

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