IRELAND’S SIX NATIONS campaign to date may have been blighted by countless silly penalties, but that is set to end – if Declan Kidney has his way, that is.
When the team came together last week for a training camp in Carton House, the Irish boss told his charges that their disciplinary problems need to end immediately – and he did not mince his words.
Speaking yesterday ahead of this weekend’s crunch game against Wales, Irish second-row Donncha O’Callaghan told reporters that Kidney “fucking let fly” over the issue when it came up for discussion.
Anyone who was in our meeting with Deccie in Carton House wouldn’t want to be on the end of a silly penalty this week.
You probably know him all as a nice man and really calm and composed, but he let fucking fly on Tuesday. You just don’t want to be in there, following the review of that game, being on the end of something silly.
You can say that you can self-police and stuff like that but when it comes down from the top you have to perk up and listen to it.
A stunned O’Callaghan revealed that the direct words from the usually mild-mannered Kidney had a much more powerful effect than when similar sentiments were expressed by dressing-room leaders such as Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell.
Paul and Brian were saying it, but none of it would carry the weight it had when it came from Deccie.
You could see it’s the main man calling the shots there and guys didn’t want to re-offend.
The words “Irish indiscipline” have become increasingly frequent in recent weeks as the team struggles to come to terms with the manner in which referees are now interpreting the rulebook.
Three weeks ago against France, Ireland outscored the visitors by three tries to one yet still lost the game as persistent indiscipline allowed Morgan Parra and Dimitri Yachvili to kick six penalties. Then, in Murrayfield ten days ago, Ireland conceded a whopping 13 penalties as all of Scotland’s 18-point tally coming from kicks at goal.
With important games against both Wales and England taking place over the next ten days, it is crucial that Ireland cut the penalty count if they are to have a shot at winning the Triple Crown.
Ireland (vs. Wales): Luke Fitzgerald, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon Darcy, Keith Earls, Ronan O’Gara, Eoin Reddan, Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Sean O’Brien, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip.
Wales: L Byrne; L Halfpenny, J Davies, J Roberts, S Williams; J Hook, M Phillips; P James, M Rees, C Mitchell, B Davies, AW Jones, D Lydiate, S Warburton, R Jones.