IRELAND HEAD COACH Declan Kidney insists he’ll take the positives from this evening’s defeat to South Africa at the Aviva Stadium.
Kidney saw his side relinquish a half-time lead in their first November International at Lansdowne Rd.
“We were going okay until half-time but Test matches always have about four of five different parts to play and South Africa got their mauling game going, they smothered us a lot in the second half and we found it difficult to get going,” the Corkman told RTÉ afterwards.
Kidney sent out a new-look team shorn of stars like Brian O’Driscoll, Sean O’Brien and Paul O’Connell. And, though stand-in skipper Jamie Heaslip was sin-binned on his big day, Kidney insists it’s onwards and upwards.
“We gave up a penalty and they went for touch and so their intent to go after us in the maul was pretty clear,” he said of the incident that led to the costly yellow card. “They got a good roll on the maul and instead of letting them walk over we went in to make them work hard but the referee decided it was a yellow card.”
“We won’t make excuses,” he continued. “We have good players here now so we just need to learn from it, there a little bit of experience that we need as well then too. There’s a lot of inexperience there and I think a lot of them stood up. We’ll have to see how guys repair after this match and then pick the best team for next week.”
Michael Bent — fresh of the plane and the subject of much scrutiny — was also introduced during the second period and earned the praise of his new coach.
“I think you saw when he came on there he steadied up the scrum. We had conceded two penalties from the two scrums previous, so he steadied it up and we managed to pick up a penalty there,” Kidney told Clare McNamara.