Rugby Digest: Declan Kidney’s Ronan O’Gara ax could backfire
Six Nations Shake Up, Heaslip Warns Teammates, Rugby Shorts - Munster Draws; Leinster Wins
Speaking to the press for the first time since the shock announcement to axe O’Gara, Kidney explained his thinking and the player’s reaction to the news.
“He was really disappointed. You don’t give the type of service Ronan has given and not be disappointed,” Kidney said.
“The reason for it is when there is a time of change there will always be a lot of inspection of it and why it needs to happen.
“Sometimes that’s the role of a coach to make these type of calls, and I just felt that Ian had been going well and deserved a chance in the squad.
“Paddy was going well too. He just pulled up in training on Monday with tightness and we’ll look after that. It’s just one of those calls you have to make as a coach.”
Kidney also confirmed that Jackson or Madigan will take responsibility for kicking duties against the French.
“Paddy and Ian will be the front-runners for kicking. He’ll go to kicking practice tomorrow to provide back-up where possible,” Kidney said.
Six Nations Shake Up
IRELAND coach Declan Kidney has made three changes to his team to face France at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday – and more could be made before kick-off.
Jonny Sexton is definitely out of the match but no decision has been made at out-half yet as Paddy Jackson, his replacement against Scotland, struggles with a hamstring injury.
Ian Madigan will come into the team if Jackson fails a fitness test on Thursday.
Fergus McFadden is named on the wing in place of the injured Craig Gilroy, while Mike McCarthy returns from injury to replace Donncha O’Callaghan and Cian Healy returns from suspension to replace Tom Court.
Prop Declan Fitzpatrick is definitely out, but no replacement will be named until later this week with Kidney set to choose between Stephen Archer or Michael Bent.
The Ireland team to play France is: Kearney, McFadden, O’Driscoll, Marshall, Earls, AN Other, Murray, Healy, Best, Ross, McCarthy, Ryan, O’Mahony, O’Brien, Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: Cronin, Kilcoyne, O’Callaghan, Henderson, Reddan, Fitzgerald.
Heaslip Warns Teammates
IRELAND captain Jamie Heaslip has warned his teammates to beware the Ronan O’Gara lesson as they prepare to face France on Saturday.
O’Gara was ruthlessly axed by coach Declan Kidney for the match after Ireland lost consecutive games to England and then Scotland.
Heaslip is adamant any player can suffer the same fate if they don’t deliver against the French.
“In terms of who gets in and who gets out that is a decision for the management,” said Heaslip.
“Ronan has been a great player. He’s a great squad guy as well and now there’s an opportunity for someone else to step in.
“We set our standards very high in training and our standards high in the game as well, and when you don’t step up to that level I suppose the coaches have to make a decision then.”
Rugby Shorts - Munster Draws; Leinster Wins
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