/ Rugby

Kidney comes clean after Springbok defeat

Updated: Tuesday, 09 Nov 2010 17:21

Declan Kidney: 'I'll put my hand up and say I didn't cover the avenue of what happens if it buckets down on Saturday'
Declan Kidney: 'I'll put my hand up and say I didn't cover the avenue of what happens if it buckets down on Saturday'

Declan Kidney today accepted responsibility for the tactics that led to Ireland's dismal performance and downfall against South Africa.

Ten changes in personnel have been made to the side defeated 23-21 last Saturday, though Kidney stressed squad-building was the motivation for picking the new-look line-up.

Ireland have been condemned for adopting an expansive game plan despite dreadful conditions at the Aviva Stadium that were mastered instead by the unspectacular Springboks.

Other than a late fightback inspired by Ronan O'Gara, it was a frustrating evening which showed the team's attacking ambition must be reined in.

However, Kidney refuses to abandon the style of play that he believes capitalises on Ireland's strengths.

‘We're bitterly disappointed by Saturday but we know we can play better,’ he said.

‘We have a plan and what you don't want to do is let what happened on Saturday make you tighten up.

‘We know the way we want to play, we want to play the Irish way and we're not trying to imitate anyone. We're looking to play to our strengths.

‘I'll put my hand up and say I didn't cover the avenue of what happens if it buckets down on Saturday.

‘We'll learn from it and I believe we'll become a better side for it.’

Ireland have an immediate opportunity to redeem themselves with Samoa the next visitors on Saturday.

However, it will be a radically different line-up that takes to the field against the big-hitting Pacific islanders, with 24-year-old Leinster lock Devin Toner making his Test debut.

The clamour for O'Gara's recall has been answered with the veteran fly-half selected alongside Peter Stringer in preference to Jonathan Sexton and Eoin Reddan.

The appearance of Munster half-backs O'Gara and Stringer in the last 15 minutes against South Africa transformed Ireland's game.

Ulster duo Paddy Wallace and Andrew Trimble are selected at inside centre and on the left wing while Luke Fitzgerald's positional switch from wing to full-back lifts the total number of changes in the starting line-up to 11.

Prop Tom Court and hooker Sean Cronin figure in a new-look front row that is completed by the return of veteran tighthead John Hayes.

Openside David Wallace is replaced by Sean O'Brien while Denis Leamy is preferred ahead of Stephen Ferris in the number six jersey.

Kidney hopes he has struck the right balance between picking a side which will prevent Ireland from slumping to a seventh successive defeat and increasing his playing options.

‘We talk about building a squad, but doing that isn't always as easy as it seems,’ said Kidney.

‘We've talked about having a big squad and sometimes you have to back that up.

‘We've picked this team to show we have faith in them. Some of the guys who were unlucky to lose out last week are getting their run now.

‘We're trying to show everybody that we do have a good squad.

‘A couple of years ago we had a bit of luck in winning things but we didn't have a whole lot of injuries.

‘There's always a risk the team will be disjointed with that many changes, but building a squad isn't an easy thing to do.

‘The alternative is to have only 15 players, but then if someone is injured it's hard to pick another fella.

‘People paying hard-earned money to see the match want to see Ireland win. It's trying to get that balance right.’

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