Kidney sorry for supporters but vows Irish will 'get on with it' against French
THE arch-diplomat in Ireland coach Declan Kidney was almost broken as he just about kept a lid on his feelings about the Six Nations Council's decision to play the France-Ireland match on Sunday, March 4.
The announcement that there is to be no post-match function was not exactly first on Kidney's list of concerns over how his players and their supporters would stomach poor treatment from the Six Nations.
"If it was on I'm not too sure we'd be hanging around for it anyway. We have a match six days later. There is a business of looking after players too," he said.
"We went to a post-match function the other night. I'm sure that will cover us off for that one.
"We should stop now Karl, they're only getting me going. I have been good so far, I won't break out," he suggested to IRFU communications manager, Karl Richardson.
The simple facts are that the 'monied interests', the right broadcasters, the main sponsors, the French Federation and the French Top-14 Championship had to come first and foremost in this instance.
Given the competing parties, Ireland were never likely to get what they wanted from the process of rescheduling the match.
Kidney was straight enough to admit this when he was asked whether Ireland were happy.
He said: "It would appear not. Would we have been better off playing this weekend and having a gap rather than playing on the Sunday? We never saw Sunday coming, to be honest. I suppose it was always on the cards."
Each vested interest has to protect and advance its own agenda. Kidney is in the business of winning matches and defending his supporters.
"Can you afford to go for the whole weekend again? I doubt it -- not in these times. If you are fortunate enough to have work on Monday morning, how do you get home out of it on Sunday night?" asked Kidney.
"It is different for us as a team. Our job is to get on with it and we'll do that. For our supporters, we are extremely disappointed for them because it is going to be extremely difficult for them."
It seems for Kidney everything comes in fours this season. The four upcoming Six Nations matches do not stand alone.
"I have said to the players already that we had four matches last August then we had five at the World Cup after a break of a week," said Kidney.
"At the end of the season, we have the Barbarians and then three tests against New Zealand. It's vital to have a good panel of at least 30 players.
"That's why you have to have at least two Irish fellas in each position.
"If you look at our 13s going into the Wales match, we had Brian injured, Darren Cave injured, Eoin Griffin injured and Keith Earls was otherwise occupied. So that was the four 13s."
Number 13 -- unlucky for some.
Kidney on the Irish system:
"Here, we are all employees of the IRFU, and so central contracting allows for the provinces and the national team to work in easier harmony.
"I know that sometimes you can see differences. I have said in the past that 90 or 95 per cent of what we do we agree on, which is probably better than most marriages."
Kidney on the French system:
"The primary employers for the players are the clubs. The clubs then are the ones that rule the roost."