Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kidney feels the heat - is it going to be a cruel summer?

A kidney yesterday

Who’d be a coach ,eh? If you win, people will forgive your foibles, and grumble quietly. If you lose more than people think you should lose,  you have no chance. If you stick to your guns and go with your gut feeling, you are pig headed and rigid. If you take on board criticism and make changes, you are wishy washy, bereft of you own ideas. Taking into account that 99.9997% of this criticism comes from people who have never coached, and who get their ideas on strategy and   the rules of the game from rugby commentators, 99.9999999999% of whom have never coached or read a rule book, it must be pretty hard to take. And his squad is, to use the technical term, completely buggered after 10 months of rugby. Awww, shame Declan! I guess he knew what he was in for when he signed up for the job.

Declan is a master at keeping his cards close to his chest, the most he reveals at press conferences is that he doesn’t want to tell the media anything. That genial smile could be a reflection of his calm inner zen, or could be masking his almost unbearable desire to seize the microphone from the offending reporter and stick it where the sun don’t shine – we’ll never know.

He has at least planned to leave for NZ with a few new aces up his sleeve, the likes of Tuohy and Marshall, but whether we’ll see them is another thing.  We’ll be without Ferris and probably POC, which is seriously bad news.

My two cents worth on Kidney is that Kidney comes from a background of success with Munster. He took the clay he had at Munster, an awesome forward pack, and talented half backs, and made them into champions of Europe, and then  blended in a few new elements to come up the 2009 6 Nations. He also achieved his Ireland’s best result of the World Cup by topping our pool. Times have changed, and Leinster are now top dogs, with Ulster rising fast below them.  The outstanding feature of Leinster is their dynamic back play, but we don’t get to see that for Ireland. Les Kiss is the defensive and backs coach, whose noticeable success is with the Boks, that hot bed of back line innovation. Kidney doesn’t have the key to backline magic, and neither do his staff  He couldn’t arrange for Joel Schmidt to have a holiday back home for oh, the next three weeks could he? 

I’d say there more chance for us to prosper in NZ  than most people think. Well most people think we haven’t got a snowballs chance in hell so that isn’t hard. The AB’shave lost a host of experience to the moneybags France, they have issues at half back with burger fan Piri Weepu body doubling for Homer Simpson these days, Carter has hardly played, Nonu is vey up and down, they have a new coach in place, and they haven’t played together yet this season. And they are massively confident.

But without a decent backs coach, this three match tour is likely to strain even Kidney’s Zen. Is this a good time to drop in the fact that Kidney’s and Schmidt’s contracts expire at the same time?

1 comment:

  1. Kidney just strikes me as pragmatic...a lot like Graham Henry really.

    One must not forget that although Ireland had a disappointing season they were very close to beating Wales first up. It could have been ver different such is the influence of momentum.

    They also played well in the World cup but were beaten by a side who were almost playing without fear. I think Wales would have beaten most sides in the knockout-stages.

    Ireland are a good side, but I can't see them winning in NZ, even if the Kiwis are showing over-confidence again...