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Les Kiss insists that Irish aren't in need of an overhaul despite Rugby World Cup failure

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 04/11/2015

Double act: Les Kiss and Joe Schmidt led Ireland into the World
Cup but it ultimately ended in quarter-final disappointment
Double act: Les Kiss and Joe Schmidt led Ireland into the World Cup but it ultimately ended in quarter-final disappointment

Ulster's new Director of Rugby Les Kiss does not want to see a radical change to the structures of Irish rugby despite yet another World Cup quarter-final defeat.

The Australian - who served as defence coach with the national set-up from 2009 until the last-eight loss to Argentina three weekends ago - has been part of the review process following the tournament but does not believe the nation's decision makers should rush to alter a set-up that has delivered back-to-back Six Nations titles.

Lamenting the poor start against the Pumas - Ireland were quickly 17-0 down - and a list of absentees that included five would-be starters, Kiss said: "I look back at the World Cup, the organisation and planning, even the way the players handled themselves, there was some really good things in places.

"We were percolating along reasonably nicely but that 20 minutes (to start against Argentina) certainly got us.

"The circumstances leading into it didn't help, it was a big hit to take and there was a lot thrown at us in that week.

"It'd be wrong for anyone to be jumping to conclusions or knee-jerk reactions.

"I was part of a mini-review process if you like, as the review process will travel along over the next week or two, and we used common sense.

"You can invent things that are a problem, but there's level heads there to make sure that they get into the right areas.

"I was part of that initial process and as the Ulster coach I'll hopefully be part of the solutions going forward if there are other things they need to do on it.

"It would be remiss to jump to massive conclusions that things are wrong.

"There are a lot of good things; you don't win two Six Nations without getting a lot of things right.

"The areas that are being picked out to work on and move forward with, that'll be worked out over the next few weeks.

"I've worked with the players for a lot of years, the current coaches and David Nucifora, Dave Clarke the fitness manager, they'll get their heads around the right things."

The 50-year-old does, however, acknowledge that the Southern Hemisphere sides - four of whom made the competition's semi-finals - have confidence in their ability to perform a wide range of skills that is not evident in European rugby.

"They demand that their players know the core role but it doesn't just stop there," he said of the Rugby Championship sides.

"They demand that they develop the other skill sets, you saw a bit of it when (New Zealand prop Joe) Moody was putting the ball out the back of his hand.

"Their skill sets are worked on to the point that they feel confident in those situations.

"That's on an individual basis but also collectively. They build a confidence in terms of how they want to play and execute it fully.

"I don't think the gap is as big as it can be made out to be. It looks big, it seems big.

"We didn't end up winning a quarter-final from a Northern Hemisphere perspective but New Zealand just do that well, basic skill sets, and they don't just rely on a 10-man game or an offloading game.

"They can vary it immensely and that comes from being confident in the basics."

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