Ireland v South Africa: We did throw it away a little, admits Kidney
Declan Kidney has admitted that Ireland may have made things difficult for themselves by trying to throw to the middle and back of the line-out rather than the front.
It was an area where the Springboks held sway, repeatedly managing to secure quality possession from their outstanding second row pair captain Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha on their own throw as well as disrupting Ireland’s ball.
“The line-out is always a combination of things — lifters, jumpers, throwing in, pressure from the opposition. If you take a look at the experience they had within their pack, we shouldn’t underestimate that,” Kidney said.
“And while we’ll be critical of ourselves for the way we went about some of our business you have to give credit to South Africa for the way they came at us from that phase of play.”
It was Ireland’s first appearance in Dublin since March 20 when they lost 23-20 to Scotland at Croke Park. On that occasion, too, the Irish line-out malfunctioned.
Admitting that having closed to within two points in the latter stages on Saturday had made losing a disappointment, Kidney praised his players for a fighting finale which saw them just fail to redeem what 15 minutes earlier had looked a lost cause.
“The fact that we got to within two points, it was disappointing (to lose),” said Kidney.
“You would never take for granted how much fight these guys do put into it. They showed that in the last 20 when we felt the scoreboard could come our way.
“It was just unfortunate that we were 14 points behind; that was two too many.”
Captain Brian O’Driscoll highlighted the part the weather had played and underlined the effect of the wet conditions in tandem with ring rustiness and Ireland’s commitment to more expansive rugby.
“The 30 guys who took the field had a real understanding of how difficult conditions were out there. That ball was like a bar of soap,” he said. “It wasn’t only ourselves (who made mistakes). They made some unforced errors too.
“We’re trying things; we’re trying to build our game plan and have a go. It was the first international and all of those factors together maybe didn’t help us.”