Wood believes Kidney’s under ‘proper pressure’

FORMER Ireland captain Keith Wood believes head coach Declan Kidney is under ‘proper pressure’ as a result of making ‘a chunk of big errors’ in his side’s 60-0 drubbing against New Zealand last weekend.

FORMER Ireland captain Keith Wood believes head coach Declan Kidney is under ‘proper pressure’ as a result of making ‘a chunk of big errors’ in his side’s 60-0 drubbing against New Zealand last weekend.

However, while Wood believes Kidney must make changes in his approach to the job of Ireland head coach, the former hooker has stopped short of saying the Corkman should be replaced in the top job.

Wood believes the coach’s decision to call Paddy Wallace up from his holidays and put him straight into the side to face the All-Blacks last weekend ‘sent out all the wrong signals.’

Wood said: “It is very easy to call for someone to lose his job, which again I am not in favour of.

“I think (Declan) Kidney had a good selection at the start of the tour. He picked a good squad. I think he has made some big errors in it and I think he is under proper pressure now, without a shadow of a doubt.

“I think he has made a chunk of big errors and the defensive gameplan is the biggest one in my view.

“I know Declan (Kidney) pretty well. I would hope he sees the criticism. He knows it himself as every player does who plays badly.

“Anthony Foley reminds me at every available opportunity that I disgraced the nation by playing for Ireland against Argentina in Lens when we lost in ‘99 (Rugby World Cup)! I don’t need any reminding. We were awful. Those things happen and they stay with you.

“Do you walk away from those things totally? Do you get a time for a chance at redemption or do you actually redeem yourself?

“So Kidney gets an opportunity, unless the IRFU say; ‘ok, we have enough, you are gone.”

Speaking on Newstalk’s Off the Ball programme, Wood described Ireland’s schedule of playing 17 Tests last season as ‘a joke.’

Wood continued: “What are the alternatives (to Declan Kidney) immediately? If you look at a lot of the blogs on it, it has to do with Joe Schmidt coming straight in. Well, that wouldn’t happen anyway. He is in a contract (at Leinster) and he would want to see out his contract.

“Kidney has to change. I thought Les Kiss taking over the attack side of it was wrong. Some teams it works very well with, it hasn’t worked with us.

“We need a bit of extra spark because our backline hasn’t sparked. That needs to be changed and there has to be some sort of change in the set-up.”

Wood said the provinces and Ireland needed to embrace the idea of exposing young, talented players to top level rugby sooner.

“The provinces need to be picking some of these players earlier, so we can see them,” Keith Wood said.

“I said time and time again that if Ronan O’Gara came along today as a 19-year-old we would not see him for a good few years.

“When we have quality, get them on to the provincial side and into the Irish squad when we can. We need to be willing to make those changes. Whether the guys are bored or sick of Kidney at this stage, I don’t know? But he needs to liven something up, something needs to change.”