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Friday 15 December 2017

Kiss content to continue the pursuit of evolution rather than revolution

Defence coach Les Kiss believes his short-term stint at Ulster will not affect Ireland's autumn Test preparations
Defence coach Les Kiss believes his short-term stint at Ulster will not affect Ireland's autumn Test preparations

Les Kiss believes it is a case of 'when' not 'if' Ireland flanker Chris Henry will return to play.

The Ulsterman had surgery to the wall of his heart to correct an issue that first materialised on the morning of Ireland's international against South Africa.

"I think the key thing at the moment is that he is in recovery. The procedure has been done and that shouldn't give him any further issues," said Kiss.

"The big thing for now for Chris is to just get into a position where he is well and healthy again. And then consider when he returns to play."

Kiss was not about to scream from the rooftops of Clontarf rugby club about Ireland's standing after a perfect three-from-three in November.

"We have been in the game too long to know that it doesn't promise anything over the horizon," he cautioned. "It doesn't guarantee us anything for the Six Nations.

"It's what you do leading up to that and how you deal with that moment so, while it is good to reflect on a job well done in terms of results, we are not going to be fooled by that."

Ireland's defence coach also had to fend off suggestions that there is a certain tactical predictability, through predominant use of the boot, in how they overcame South Africa and Australia.

"My response to that is that we're working on all parts of our game to build some variation there," he responded.

"We don't want to be a one-trick pony by any means and I don't think we are. You know, in the Six Nations we used the ball in hand a little bit more. This time we kicked a little more.

Build

"Maybe some of it was according to plan, maybe some of it was because players read the situation as it was. We're just trying to a build a more complete way that we can evolve our game as a whole.

"I'd be reticent to say it's in one particular area. I think it's a combination of things and I think it's a strength of our team that all parts work together.

"Sometimes some parts aren't as good as they can be, while other parts have work harder to negate any negative effect in that area."

The affable Aussie was strong in his defence of how Ireland are evolving as the Six Nations looms heavy on the horizon.

"I think it's important to realise the game as a whole," he said.

"It may not please you, the answer, but like defence, it doesn't work in isolation from other parts of the game, they all contribute to each other.

"Set-piece is not just built around winning the ball or stopping the opposition ball. It's part of the connected strategy around what it does to the opposition and what it does for yourself.

"It's hard to just isolate one area and forensically look at it in that way. I think it's combination with a lot of things and that's the way we prefer to approach it."

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