Italy 22-15 Ireland, Six Nations
Kidney to consider future after loss
ESPN Staff
March 16, 2013

Ireland coach Declan Kidney admitted that he will consider his future after seeing his side slump to a 22-15 loss to Italy.

It was the first time that the men in emerald green lost to the Azzurri and it could be Kidney's last game in charge of Ireland. His contract comes to an end in the summer and following their poor return of a win, a draw and three losses during the 2013 championship, the Irish Rugby Football Union could opt to change the team's backroom staff.

"I said all along that I'd concentrate on each game as it came and that's all I've done today," Kidney said. "I wasn't thinking that this could be my last match as coach, all I was concentrating on was getting the win.

"I wanted to get a result out of today, we didn't manage to do that and we'll reflect on it over the coming days and weeks. I'd have to sit down and think about whether I want a new contract. These guys are a pleasure to work with, but beyond that I'd have to sit back and think about it."

While succumbing to Italy may spell the end of Kidney, it could also have been Brian O'Driscoll's last Ireland match with his future undecided beyond the summer. O'Driscoll spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin for stamping and could face a citing.

"Brian has had a strong Six Nations given everything that has been going on for him," Kidney said. "He was outstanding against Wales and had a good match against France. I thought he did well today too. He's earned the space and time to be able to make up his own mind. Players are the only ones who know when the time is right to go."

The team was captained by Jamie Heaslip and he admitted that Ireland had been outplayed.

"We gave away too many easy shots at goal and also turned over a lot of ball at the set piece. They cut us off at source," Heaslip said. "The set-piece is a big launching platform for any team, so to lose that was frustrating. But we were still in it until the end, despite the injuries."

But while Ireland were licking their wounds, Italy skipper Sergio Parisse revelled in the win. It was the Azzurri's first victory in this particular fixture since joining the tournament in 2000 and when combined with their triumph over France, it completed their greatest overall championship performance. They won two games in 2007, but Parisse was adamant that this was the standout triumph.

"You can't compare this Six Nations with 2007 because we have secured wins against two squads with a lot of history, two of the strongest in the world," Parisse said. "We're a squad that's improving. We play France and Ireland in the group stage of the 2015 World Cup and we have sent a strong message to them.

"There were a lot of positives in this game from a psychological point of view because there was a good balance between our backs and forwards. In this Six Nations we have managed to put a lot of teams under pressure. We played against some great players like Brian O'Driscoll, but have nothing to be envious of."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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