Ireland 22-26 France, Dublin, August 20
Kidney optimistic on injured duo
August 20, 2011
Sean O'Brien's late try was not enough to prevent a third defeat in as many games for Ireland © Getty Images
Ireland boss Declan Kidney admitted his side need to learn lessons fast ahead of the World Cup after seeing his charges suffer their third straight defeat.
After France's 19-12 win last weekend, Ireland - in front of a packed Aviva Stadium - would have hoped to put down a World Cup marker. However, despite impressing in the first 20 minutes, the home side were unable to prevent the French half-backs of Francois Trinh-Duc and Morgan Parra dictating the tempo of the game. And Kidney now faces an anxious wait over the fitness of two of his players - Felix Jones and Cian Healy - who both left the field with injuries in the second-half.
Despite both players looking in huge discomfort leaving the field, Kidney is hopeful on the fitness of the pair. "Felix has had an x-ray which didn't show a broken bone, but he'll have a scan tomorrow," said Kidney. "Only once we know the results of that will we be able to asses it fully. We need to check for ligament damage."
"Someone stood on Cian's foot 10 days ago in training and unfortunately someone trod on the same spot today. It's just something that needs a little bit of fresh air and time for the bruise to heal."
In regards to the match itself, Kidney admitted he was pleased with some facets of the Irish performance but believes they need to take full advantage of their four warm-up matches prior to the World Cup. "The pressure's the same for every game. We've tried to win each one and that's what we'll do next Saturday," Kidney said.
"Three losses isn't what we want to have. We'd have liked to have won them all, we haven't hidden from that fact. Am I concerned? No not really. In terms of what we're doing and the way we're going about it, I believe we are going the right way."
Captain Brian O'Driscoll, who alongside Gordon D'Arcy and Stephen Ferris made a successful return from injury, admitted Ireland could only perform for spells. "Hopefully we'll get better at playing that very high tempo game we produced in the first 15-20 minutes the more we play," he said. "It's difficult to play for that intensity for 80 minutes. We played for 20 minutes in the first half and 15 minutes at the end.
"We need to play like that for far longer periods if we are to stay in the game against good opposition like France. We were predictable in that first quarter but when we got tired maybe we got easier to read."
Ireland - potentially minus their first choice loose-head Healy - now face rivals England on Saturday August 27. And the Irish will hope to build on their good performance in the final match of the Six Nations match when they defeated their rivals at the Aviva Stadium. The World Cup starts for Kidney's men on September 11 against Eddie O'Sullivan's US Eagles.
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