Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kidney Admits Irish Must Deliver in Paris Showdown

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kidney Admits Irish Must Deliver in Paris Showdown

Article excerpt

Ireland ............................................... 29 Italy 11 DECLAN Kidney accepts Ireland must deliver a significant improvement against France if their Grand Slam defence is to remain intact, writes DUNCAN BECH.

The RBS 6 Nations champions opened the tournament with a 29-11 victory over Italy at Croke Park which deteriorated as a spectacle during a grim second half.

Tries by Jamie Heaslip and Tomas O'Leary and 16 points from Ronan O'Gara ensured it was a comfortable but frustrating victory for the Irish.

A far greater challenge looms next Saturday, however, when Ireland travel to Paris seeking only their third victory in the French capital since 1952.

Kidney refused to read his players the riot act after witnessing a far from convincing start, but admits a repeat performance will be welcomed by the Six Nations favourites.

"We'll need to do more in Paris but France should play a different game to Italy and will present their own challenges," he said. "In every area we need to improve, I'm under no illusions about that. If we let the same happen against France, we won't win.

"But we can't go too far down that road as seven days is a quick turnaround. I'm disappointed we didn't score more tries against Italy. I was hoping we'd get an extra few.

"I wouldn't be delirious about the performance but I won't knock it either. We need to keep a balance on things."

Ireland's annoyance at their inability to demolish Italy after establishing a 23-3 lead in the 39th minute was heightened by their dominance at the set piece.

Atoning for last autumn's horror show, they bettered the feared Italian scrum with Cian Healy enjoying mastery over Martin Castrogiovanni, while the line-out was even more one-sided.

"We need to work on our support play and look to see how we can strike off the set pieces," said Kidney. …

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