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Tuesday 14 August 2018

D'arcy sweats over his place

IRELAND centre Gordon D'Arcy is worried about his place for the upcoming Six Nations game against Scotland next weekend.

The Wexford native has had two below-par performances against Italy and France including a series of handling errors and a missed tackle on Aurélien Rougerie that led to France's lone try on Sunday.

"Selection is up to Deccie (Declan Kidney)," said the Leinster man. "I can control what I can control. I'll be nervous. I just hope I'll be involved."

Despite calls from captain Brian O'Driscoll for players to improve or otherwise risk losing their places, Declan Kidney has insisted that changes to the side that lost narrowly to France last weekend are not inevitable.

During Ireland's Grand Slam year of 2009, Kidney made several unforced changes to the team that travelled to Murrayfield but despite a series of below-par displays, culminating in home defeat to France last time out, the coach refuses to press the panic button.

"We obviously lost the last game but we'd won the game before that," he said from the team's Cork base yesterday. "There's nothing inevitable about changing. I was happy about several aspects of the France game, we got a bit of continuity from the week before but then we have to give the provincial guys every respect as well, let them show whether they can bring a bit of a spark."

The return of Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe will heighten the pressure ahead of next Wednesday's selection, as will the determination of players such as Peter Stringer to deliver pertinent points this weekend.

Referring to O'Driscoll's clarion call after the France defeat, Kidney believed it was "a player giving an example of how self-critical they are".

"But what you don't want is a fella going out, all of a sudden he has one error and he thinks that's me gone now, and he starts to clam up. They need to be backed, but so do the guys performing this weekend," he added.

Kidney refused to be drawn about whether prop Tony Buckley was only offered a one-year deal by IRFU bosses before snapping up a three-year deal with Sale. However, he did insist that Buckley's World Cup hopes would not be dashed by his decision to opt out of the Irish system from next season.

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