Ireland rugby coach Declan Kidney supports postponement of RBS Six Nations
Ireland coach Declan Kidney was fully supportive of the decision to postpone Saturday night’s Six Nations clash with France at the last minute.
Referee Dave Pearson and French rugby officials have come in for severe criticism after the game was called-off with the teams about to leave the dressing-room.
Temperatures were down to minus seven degrees and the 80,000 fans were already in their seats when referee Pearson took the decision to postpone the game due to the frozen pitch.
“Talking to the referee, it was a really difficult decision to make, but he had the courage to take it. I know what I thought about the ground in that right-hand corner and I can’t criticise him,” said Kidney.
“One particular corner of the pitch was dangerous to play on so the referee took the right decision.
“The players were pumped up for it in the dressing room as the protocol of this competition demands that you prepare fully for the game.
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“The boys were ready to go but sometimes you have to let your head rule your heart. I am glad we are not talking about a serious injury to one of the players.”
Referee Pearson has been defended by his bosses for making the call.
“Player welfare and safety is the primary concern for the IRB and its match officials,” read the statement.
“Having witnessed and assessed the rapid deterioration of the playing surface between the final pitch inspection and the scheduled kick-off time, and following consultation with the match official team, both coaches and championship organisers, Pearson deemed the pitch unplayable on player welfare grounds.”
RBS 6 Nations Media and Communications manager, Christine Connolly explained on Saturday night: “Unfortunately on the advice of the referee it was decided that it was unplayable.
“He came here yesterday and inspected it under the covers and then again at 7.30pm (French time) this evening and it was playable.
“However, sadly in the 90 minutes after the covers were drawn back it froze over in several areas and was unplayable.”
French coach Philippe Saint-André wanted to play the game. He said: “We would have preferred to play. The changing room was electric, the players were really ready to play but you have to respect the referee’s decision, it’s he who is in charge of players’ safety.”
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