Rugby World Cup 2011

Ireland close to top form

2011-08-26 16:08

Cape Town - Ireland coach Declan Kidney expects his team to hit top form tomorrow when they take on Six Nations rivals England in their final game before the Rugby World Cup.

Kidney’s team have played and lost three warm-up Tests this season, and another defeat will send the side to New Zealand having lost 10 of their last 15 games.

Ireland’s opponents for the game are in a slightly better position, having won their first match against Wales 23 – 19 and lost their second 19 – 9 a week later, but will be equally desperate to head to the Southern Hemisphere on a winning note.

According to ESPN Scrum, Kidney believes that his team will move past the defeats of the last two months by putting in a more polished performance against England tomorrow.

"I'm disappointed we've lost the last three matches but I know we can get ourselves right. We decided to have four warm up internationals because in the past it's taken us a while to get into our stride,” said Kidney.

"I believe we'll get into our stride now, but there are a few bits of the jigsaw that must come together and that's what we're trying to achieve.

“I feel we're getting better every week and I expect the players to give everything because there's no other way to wear a green jersey. We're playing England in Dublin tomorrow, that's all the matters."

Kidney previously coached the Ireland schools and under 19 teams, as well as provincial sides Leinster and Munster, and was the national team’s assistant coach during the 2003 World Cup.

The Heineken Cup winner has been in charge of Ireland since 2009 after his predecessor Eddie O’Sullivan was fired after under-performing in the Six Nations. Kidney made an immediate impact after taking over and guided the team to their first Grand Slam since 1948.

Ireland have failed to reach their 2009 heights so far this season and have been have been heavily criticized for their poor performances.

Kidney added that he accepted and appreciated the criticism because it meant that people were interested in the team.


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