Kidney hopes to Pumas
November 23, 2008
Declan Kidney hopes Ireland's 17-3 victory over Argentina has prevented another World Cup collision course between the rivals.
Both teams have suffered at the hands of the other in the last three tournaments, clashing in pivotal encounters that sent one of them home. Ireland's latest win has guaranteed a place among the second seeds for the pool draw on December 1 and Kidney is anxious that will be enough to avoid the Pumas in New Zealand in 2011.
"The rankings issue probably gave us a greater focus on the match because it gave us something to play for," he said. "It put a little bit more spice into it because Argentina were playing for the top four.
"So there was no talk about experimental line-ups or experimental law variations - this was one for the World Cup. The result could mean we won't have to play them at the World Cup for the first time in three competitions.
"That may be a slight relief. The reality for Irish rugby is it was important that we stayed in the top eight."
Kidney could be satisfied with his first autumn as Ireland coach, having accumulated two victories and a comprehensive 22-3 defeat to New Zealand. Dispatching Argentina was the overwhelming priority given the ranking points at stake, enabling the Irish to avoid yet another perilous World Cup group.
But for all the positives, Kidney has been struck by the lack of self belief running through the side. "We can be hard on one another. It surprised me because they have won three Triple Crowns and we just seem to knock that back," he said. "The players should be fully confident but they are not. We beat Argentina 17-3 and it was not too bad.
"I know it did not get the blood flowing but if you had been out there then the blood would have been flowing. You have to recognise the physicality and the brutality of the physical exchanges that were out there. The fact is that you have to front up to those and if you have one weak corner in your defence they will find it, but they didn't."
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