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Kidney: France date unfair on fans

Declan Kidney has declared Ireland fans have been "unfairly treated" by the decision to reschedule their match against France on Sunday, March 4.

The Six Nations council settled on the new date after the game was postponed shortly before kick-off on Saturday night due to a frozen pitch at the Stade de France. While supporters are entitled to a full refund for match tickets, they are unable to recover the costs of transport or accommodation.

And Kidney believes restaging the game on a Sunday gives them little hope of returning to Paris. He said: "The management and team will get on with it, that's our job and we'll prepare in the best way possible. But I'm really disappointed for the supporters - they've been unfairly treated."

The Ireland coach added: "You could feel the anguish around the stadium on Saturday night. They've already forked out to go last Saturday and that was never going to be a day trip because of the 9pm kick-off.

"For supporters to have to do it at 4pm on a Sunday....I'm not sure how they'll manage. It's really awkward and will be extremely difficult for them. Can they afford to go again for the whole weekend? I doubt it, not in these times.

"But then if you're fortunate to have work on Monday morning, how do you get home on Sunday night? We've been really fortunate in how Irish fans support us and the provincial teams."

The adjustment to schedule means Ireland must now play matches on four successive weekends, starting against Italy on Saturday week.

Kidney, however, refuses to consider the ramifications of a gruelling programme that will suit player-rich France better than the Irish.

"If you start looking at it as four in a row, you're looking at the whole picture," he said. "We need to focus on Italy, who improved against England. England only just managed to get the better of them.

"Time has shown that if you don't deal with what's in front of you, you won't have a good day. We were lucky to get the better of Italy with a last-minute drop goal in last year's Six Nations."


From Belfast Telegraph