ANOTHER SIX NATIONS game, another bitterly disappointing end.
That can go for both sides.
France, for whom the 13-13 draw marks a seventh tournament game without a win, and Ireland who are limping towards the end of a coaching tenure.
“No, we didn’t manage to quite close out the deal and that’s the frustrating side of it for us.” Kidney told RTE Sport post-match.
Ireland took a commanding 13-3 lead into the half time break. A superb goal-kicking display from Paddy Jackson complimenting a Jamie Heaslip try, snaffled from a maul which was quite simply humming in the opening exchanges. However, as has become a familiar sight, Ireland failed to function in the second half.
“It wasn’t the type of day that was good for anyone past the nine position,” Kidney added, “because the ball was so slippery and difficult to control. I thought (Jackson) showed good composure and took a lot of the right decisions.”
The same was true for Conor Murray, who was named man-of-the-match after a virtuoso all-round display, despite being replaced after just an hour’s play.
“I thought he was tiring a bit.” Kidney said, justifying the decision. “There was a few things that had gone against him just there and when you have somebody like Redser (Eoin Reddan) on the bench with his experience to be able to do things for us…”
For what it’s worth; Murray backed up the decision of the man who bolted him into a World Cup squad, hiding the disappointment while saying: “I think the ground was a bit soggy and tiring on the legs.”
In the end, Reddan was one of the casualties of an intensely physical encounter. A broken ankle which is likely to end his season, though Kidney did not want to “pre-empt” the news before a definitive scan could be made.
The green ward will be busy again this week after Fergus McFadden, Luke Marshall and Brian O’Driscoll all required extensive treatment.
Indeed, as Louis Picamoles grounded the crucial try to set up a game-levelling kick, Kidney was forced to reshuffle his entire back-line with both centres forced from the field. The season, Kidney will feel, in a microcosm.
The pain in the bodies will match the pain of a missed opportunity. France, 10 points adrift, pinned back and looking bereft of ideas were allowed to beat a path back into the game… and in the end, they probably should have won it.
“It’s a bit of a flat changing room right now.” Heaslip said.
“We played a very good game for a large portion of the game, we’re disappointed to come away with a draw after that performance.”
The captain and try-scorer added: “A draw’s always weird, you’re not completely happy, but you’re not completely devastated. The good thing is you didn’t lose, but the bad thing is you didn’t win. Stating the obvious I suppose.”
It’s not just Heaslip, It’s a result to leave nobody happy.