Irish Rugby
Kidney keeps it in proportion
November 24, 2008
Declan Kidney the head Coach of Ireland during the Guinness series between Ireland and New Zealand at Croke Park in Dublin Ireland on November 15, 2008.
Kidney's side are assured of a place in the second group of seeds in the Rugby World Cup draw with victory over Argentina © Getty Images

Declan Kidney believes keeping a balanced perspective when Ireland win or lose is crucial to restoring the team's confidence.

Kidney, who has completed his first autumn as head coach, has been surprised by the absence of self-belief in a side that has won three Triple Crowns. One of his key objectives is to restore morale but he insists ambition must remain grounded in reality.

"The lack of confidence is a thing and we must get that balance right and be reasonably critical, not being too over-the-top hysterical when we win a match," he said. "If that happens then going forward as a rugby team we can be better if everyone feeds into that. We are no different to what we were 10 years ago.

"We are a small country and we can achieve great things but we should not get too hyper if we win. And let's not get too down when we lose."

Ireland's precious 17-3 victory over Argentina at Croke Park on Saturday will have helped Kidney in his drive to coax the best from his players. The stakes were high given a win was needed to secure a second seeding for the 2011 World Cup draw and prop Marcus Horan insists it was ugly yet effective.

"We did what we had to do. It wasn't pretty but there was a lot of pressure because it was like a cup game," he said. "The talk all week was about rankings and seedings for the World Cup.

"There was everything at stake and we had to get our heads about that. It's tough when you're playing a team ranked higher than you, it's a physiological thing more than anything.

"We know we can beat Argentina. They were the better team at the World Cup last year and we wanted to put that to rest."

Ireland have now won six of their 11 meetings with Argentina and Horan admits there is animosity between the rivals.

"There's a history with Argentina because of a few controversial games. There's definitely no love lost between the two sides," he said. "But we handled that well. We were fired up but we held our heads when we had to.

"We knew the final prize at stake was bigger than getting involved in any small scuffles. But we never took a step backwards and that was important. We stood up for each other."


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