Kiss: Scrum is not an attacking platform
January 22, 2012
Ireland coach Les Kiss does not expect the scrum to be a major attacking factor in the Six Nations © Getty Images
Ireland coach Les Kiss has fired another shot in the war against the current state of the scrum, insisting that he will not attempt to use the set-piece as an attacking platform in the forthcoming Six Nations.
The Australian has inherited further responsibility following the departure of Alan Gaffney from Ireland's backroom staff, and along with his defensive duties he will now look after the backline in tandem with head coach Declan Kidney, kicking specialist Mark Tainton and video analyst Mervyn Murphy.
High on his list of priorities will be improving Ireland's sharpness from set moves, although he has warned not to expect too many "tricky things" when they get their campaign underway against Wales on February 5.
One thing that is for sure is that there will be no reliance on the scrum - despite the emergence of Cian Healy and Mike Ross as Ireland's best scrummaging props for some time.
"As for plays off the set piece, unfortunately the scrum is not a reliable platform any more," he told The Sunday Times. "Stats from the World Cup showed that teams only got a decent platform for attack once in every ten scrums. If we want to create opportunities, we have to go into contact situations on our terms. So there will be some shifts in our approach, but nothing fancy. It will be solid stuff.
"To say we're going to work on some tricky things and a little bit of magic would be remiss. We're looking at invigorating things again but about 80-90% of it will be the same. It's about adapting and enhancing. But the fundamentals prevail. The game, absolutely, is defined by the breakdown. For any team, the speed of ball you get from the ruck, especially the first two or three phases, can create opportunities that make you seem anything but predictable."
Kiss also admitted that he had moved on from Ireland's Rugby World Cup quarter-final loss against Wales in October, thanks in part to a debrief at Carlton House in December, with the recent Heineken Cup heroics of Leinster, Munster and Ulster the perfect tonic at a time when the country's rugby needed a lift.
"The camp was a good place to have a final discussion about the World Cup and to move forward," he said. "I felt a transition in that first Heineken Cup weekend, when Jonny [Sexton] put over that late conversion in Montpellier and Ronan [O'Gara] did what only he can do against Northampton. That was the point where you felt you'd moved into another world and were looking into the distance at that red jersey and the first game of the Six Nations. And Wales are pretty confident at the moment, aren't they?"
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