Ireland 55-0 Canada
Kidney refuses to get carried away
PA Sport
November 8, 2008
Irish Munster Rugby team coach Declan Kidney is pictured at a press conference in Dublin 22 April 2006 ahead of Heineken European Rugby Cup match against Irish Leinster.
Ireland head coach Declan Kidney talks to the press ©
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Ireland coach Declan Kidney saw his reign begin with a thumping 55-0 victory over Canada and then expressed his hope that the focus could now go back to his players.

In the build-up to his first match in charge, the former Munster coach has understandably been the centre of attention, with the occasion given added gloss by the fact it took place at Thomond Park, home of the club he guided to two Heineken Cup triumphs. It took just two and a half minutes for another home favourite, Munster full-back and debutant Keith Earls, to raise the roof with the game's first try - the first of five scored in a clinical opening half.

But Kidney insisted that any glory that might be heaped upon him after a points-laden first game in charge was misguided.

"That honestly doesn't really matter. Once I got into the dressing room to see the 22 of them sitting down and looking around, being able to look at each other and say 'that was good', that was the pleasing thing," he said. "It is brilliant to be involved, a huge honour, and with all the responsibility that goes with it, but it definitely isn't about me, it's about these fellows that were able to do that and that's what we're going to strive to do in every match we play."

Exciting 21-year-old Earls crossed in the third minute to begin a first-half romp which also produced two tries for Rob Kearney and further scores for Jamie Heaslip and Tommy Bowe. The visitors fared better in the second period, largely due to Ireland's scrappy performance, but substitute back rows David Wallace and Alan Quinlan, and Bowe again, made sure the half-century was completed in the dying minutes.

Kidney was pleased with how his players coped with what were frequently atrocious conditions - driving rain mixed with a cold, swirling wind. "When we saw the conditions today we knew that we could adapt to it," he said. "There's always the balance between what you would like to do, what the weather permits you to do, what the opposition allow you to do and what's the smart thing to do.

"I thought we did that well in the first half and in the fourth quarter. But that third quarter, that probably gives us enough to work on for the rest of the week."

Canada coach Kieran Crowley admitted his side were guilty of "stage fright" during the one-sided first half.

"Thirteen minutes in, it was 17-0, five penalties against us - we made some pretty simple mistakes," the former All Black said. "It was almost as if we were shell-shocked, we got stage fright I think. We had a good chat about it at half-time and I thought the second-half performance was a hell of a lot better. We contributed whereas in the first half we just chased them a bit."

He concluded: "We didn't get the result that we wanted or the positives we wanted, although a big positive was the way we played in the second half."


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