Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Kidney refuses to rest on his laurels after award

Declan Kidney has presided over an unbeaten 2009, landed Ireland's first Grand Slam in 61 years and a victory over world and Tri-Nations champions South Africa, but the IRB Coach Of the Year believes there is still much to improve on.

Jonathan Sexton's five penalties saw Ireland defeat South Africa 15-10 at Croke Park on an afternoon when Schalk Burger scored the sole try which was converted by Morne Steyn who also kicked a drop goal.

The Springboks were held scoreless in the second half in what was a ninth victory of the year for Kidney's team, but the coach stressed there was no danger of complacency in the camp.

“There are little areas that we can look to improve on. Our defence is going pretty well, Les (Kiss) won't be happy that there was a try that went in but that's the standard that the man sets,” said Kidney.

“In attack we didn't score a try, so obviously there will be areas that we'll need to do that in. And then, there's a whole series of things we'll have to learn by dealing with playing away from home.

“There are a lot of away matches coming up now -- London, Paris, we'll go to New Zealand for a couple of weeks and then finish off in Brisbane on June 26.”

The Ireland coach expressed his satisfaction with Sexton's performance on the basis that Ireland now have two quality out-halves to choose going into the Six Nations.

“I wanted to give him a go to see what he would do and how he did; I thought he went okay. It was that sort of game where the forwards and the No 9 had a huge say in how the game went,” added Kidney.

“He slotted the few penalties but you know there were one or two that went astray and maybe Ronan would have kicked some more.

“What I'm really hoping is that we don't go down the road of just giving one a rough time, because it's just a blessing that we have both and we're going to need both of them. If we were without one or the other now, we wouldn't be in a good place.”

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