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Kidney wary of Samoa challenge

Declan Kidney believes Saturday's showdown with Samoa at Aviva Stadium will provide Ireland with a clearer picture of the health of the team.

The South Sea Islanders have named a strong side featuring nine players from the Aviva Premiership and French Top 14, including Alesana Tuilagi, Seilala Mapusua and George Stowers.

Ireland desperately need a victory after succumbing to their seventh straight defeat with last weekend's 23-21 loss to South Africa, and Kidney said: "Samoa will be difficult this year. Sometimes when you play Pacific Islands teams, if it's not a World Cup year they might not get the release of all their players. But in World Cup year all of their players have been released."

He added: "You just need to look at their record in the World Cup - they've reached the knockout stages as often if not more often than ourselves.

"This will be a huge challenge and we need that to see where we are."

Ireland's performance against South Africa was a major disappointment until the final 15 minutes and Kidney has demanded his side do a better job of retaining possession.

"We turned the ball over far too much - 29 times to their 16," he said.

"If we do that we'll be in trouble in any game. We need to cherish the ball a bit more.

"We have to praise South Africa for the pressure they put us under in certain situations, but we must take control of the parts we can far better."

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