Kiss of life for Ireland
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 the upbeat Australian.
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, its 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 I think from an attacking perspective, there are some good positives for us. 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.”