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Thursday 26 April 2018

Kiss: Oz a sleeping animal waking slowly

"YOU are only inhibited by what you think can't be done," said Les Kiss.

"You've got to have ambition. The Test arena is a massive, massive pressure cooker. Time and space and even the width of the pitch shrinks.

"Your five-metre lines disappear when you go up a level, particularly at Test level because you've got better athletes around the park.

"Every team who has that ambition has to make sure they get the right things right to be able to do it. That is the challenge for each team.

"If you can get the type of ball you want on a regular basis you can play expansive and if you're not, you've got to be able to adapt and go back to some other form of rugby."

You might think this is the Ireland defence coach holding court about what Joe Schmidt wants to do with Irish rugby. It isn't.

In fact, it is Kiss's take on how Australia are trying to move forward under Ewen McKenzie. There are more similarities than differences between where Ireland and Australia are and what they want to do.

The Wallabies have shown distinct progress in their last four internationals, dominating Argentina and Italy, making New Zealand struggle in Dunedin and losing one they should have won against England.

"We definitely need to be aware that they are a sleeping animal and they are waking slowly, but surely," warned Kiss.

For Ireland, there are flaws in the defensive system that need to be ironed out in double-quick time.

 

Improve

"It needs to improve. There are a combination of factors, just being smarter earlier in how we position our defensive line, how we work with each other," remarked Kiss.

"We weren't fully cohesive in how we set ourselves and how we apply pressure. Hopefully, we'll see a step-up. We'll need to."

Ireland have been successful in the recent past, most notably at the 2011 World Cup in closing down the space and time for Will Genia to exploit holes. The game plan won't change too much there.

"It does centrally operate around what Genia does and you have to be very careful in that area without being passive. It is a delicate thing to actually manage.

"Building a technical and tactical mindset around that is very important; to be able to keep your eye on one thing without losing sight of what else is big, in terms of threats around the park. He is dangerous and, like Australia, he is ever improving."

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