Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Rugby World Cup: Ireland coach Kidney embraces positive thinking

Experts in the field of body language reckon we convey significant messages about ourselves by means of numerous unintentionally transmitted signals.

Crossed arms, it appears, equate to defence. Apparently, by crossing our arms, we are attempting to put a protective barrier between ourselves and something or someone deemed to be threatening.

I noticed that Declan Kidney’s arms were folded a lot during yesterday afternoon’s Aviva Stadium meeting with the media. Questioned about Ireland’s defeats in each of their three World Cup warm-up matches to date the coach clearly was not happy.

Nor, it seemed, did he relish being reminded of Ireland’s most recent meeting with England at the Aviva Stadium where, tomorrow, the old rivals square up again. On that occasion — March 19, 2011— the hosts won 24-8, thereby denying their guests a Grand Slam and Triple Crown.

With that benchmark in place as a clear reminder of ‘then and now’ I asked him if he felt defeat on Saturday would be damaging.

The coach went off via a scenic route before offering an answer to a question that had not been asked.

Question: “Given what Ireland did to England back in March, psychologically how important is it that you are seen not to have lost ground this weekend?”

Referring back to March he replied: “We had a good game,” whereupon — in highlighting the difference between success and failure — he proceeded to describe a moment when Andrew Trimble’s intervention prevented England scoring seven points “which would have led to a very different game”.

Repeat the question: “Would defeat be very damaging?”

The reply: “Defeats are always disappointing.”

Response: “But would this be damaging rather than just disappointing?”

Kidney: “You’re looking for me to say a word. Look, every time you put on a green jersey you’re looking to win a match. That’s what we’ll try to do on Saturday.”

Arms folded. A moment of silence and then on with the show.

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