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Robbie Henshaw's place is sealed by Kiss

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Robbie Henshaw, right, will have to wait to stake his claim to replace Brian O'Driscoll, left, in the Ireland side

Robbie Henshaw, right, will have to wait to stake his claim to replace Brian O'Driscoll, left, in the Ireland side

Robbie Henshaw, right, will have to wait to stake his claim to replace Brian O'Driscoll, left, in the Ireland side

Ireland defence coach Les Kiss has backed Robbie Henshaw as "ready" for South Africa.

"I think if Robbie was to play, to start, I think he would be ready," he said.

"It is the same when you first come into a provincial team. You have got to play them and you have got to find out.

"Are you always perfect? No. But, if you have got enough of the right things right and you've been able to build the right combinations, it becomes a plan you can give them the plan".

The grey areas are still what they were yesterday. Will Henshaw or Jared Payne wear thirteen? Can Rory Best overcome his injury to provide solidity in the middle of the front row?

"Rory... the calf is still a bit tight but he did some light action, so we'll make a decision on Thursday to cover that," he said.

And what of Mike Ross? Kiss was not about to play soft and safe on what Ross has to do for his country.

"The truth is he has got to front up for us and that is all there is to it," he said.

In more basic terms, Ireland don't have another legitimate option. Marty Moore is out. Stephen Archer and Rodney Ah You have not made the requisite impact.

"At some stage he has got to put the minutes in on the park. We just haven't had the opportunity to give him the game time and he has done a fair bit of training - that is for sure - to work as hard as he can.

"You just have to bank that that is good enough".

The fact Ross is a throwback to the heavier, old school props works against him here. He needs all the time he can muster to work up to proper match sharpness. It usually takes five or six games.

"He has got one game to get into it this time and it's a big one. That is all there is to it."

Increasingly, the Irish management work on systems that will stand firm as long as everyone buys into the details. It is not about the individual. It is about how committed each individual is to what is being done.

The emergence of Handre Pollard and Willie le Roux doesn't make it any easier for Kiss.

"In the past, you could actually predictably plan for that kick off first or second phase if not straight from set piece.

"Now they still go to that stock part of their game. It's a good strong core and they'll use it.

"But they have added a couple of players that have been able to give them that more expansive nature to their game.

"I think Willie le Roux is obviously a very dangerous proposition right across the park, and from deep to right up. He can change the direction of the game and I think (Handre) Pollard has also been a nice addition.

"By virtue of the fact that they will play from deep, they will play one or two channels wider before they make options.

"It means you have to be more invested in that front line of defence which opens up space, which then makes a strength of theirs, their kicking, even more strong if you're not working really hard at getting decent grass cover.

"So you can imagine where my mind has been as a defence coach, just trying to work the right way to approach that and the systems we're trying to put in place to make sure that we've got all those elements covered."


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