Coach Kiss tells Ir­ish team to tackle bet­ter

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IT’S been a tough old tour for Ire­land’s de­fence coach Les Kiss.

The Aus­tralian has had to put up with be­ing locked in a lift for over an hour, a back in­jury fol­low­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise that went wrong and, most painfully, hav­ing to watch his sys­tem be­ing dis­man­tled 12 times in two matches.

Nine tries con­ceded against the All Blacks, three more against the Maori – it does not make happy read­ing for a man who mas­ter­minded a miserly de­fen­sive record that saw Ire­land pick up a Grand Slam and travel through 2009 un­beaten. In the 18 in­ter­na­tion­als prior to the All Blacks Test, Ire­land had con­ceded just 16 tries and then they let in nine in one go.

Even al­low­ing for the fact Ire­land were re­duced to 14 men from the 14th minute fol­low­ing the dis­missal of Jamie Heaslip and were down to 13 for 10 min­utes when Ro­nan O’Gara was in the bin, the tries still hurt them.

Now back in the Queens­land base where he cut his teeth in rugby league for the now de­funct For­ti­tude Val­ley, Kiss is de­ter­mined to over­see a de­fen­sive re­demp­tion ex­er­cise against the Wal­la­bies to­mor­row.

“We’ve got a lot of pride in our de­fence and to let that many in is un­ac­cept­able,” said Kiss yes­ter­day. “De­spite the fact we only had 14 men for that time – and 13 for a while – you still should be bet­ter than that; they’re tough pe­ri­ods but it’s still too leaky for our lik­ing.

“When you take that up to then, we had only let 16 in over 18 Tests and then in one hit we do that (nine tries) so it’s not nice.

“The Wal­la­bies went through it when the Spring­boks put eight against them once, it’s not nice; and then I get locked in a lift for one and a half hours and then I do my back – so, I’ve re­ally had a good time.

“It’s an in­ter­est­ing dy­namic be­cause ob­vi­ously I’m dis­ap­pointed but you can read it in the play­ers’ faces. De­fen­sively, it was a wake-up and see. It wasn’t great to have it but we know where we stand and we have to get bet­ter. The chal­lenge for the guys is to get back to those stan­dards.

“We didn’t start the Maori game as we would have liked but then they got into the game, they felt their way and they were solid, ex­cept for one other in­ci­dent in the game.

“But from an at­tack­ing per­spec­tive, there are some good pos­i­tives. If you look at the All Blacks game, we had 14 men and we put four tries on them.

“Peo­ple can say they may have re­laxed but that’s the first time they’ve con­ceded four tries for a long time. I think it was 400 min­utes since a team had even scored a try against them, and we did it with 14, so we were happy with some of the devel­op­ment of our at­tack­ing game.” – Belfast Tele­graph

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