Ireland made it three wins out of four under Declan Kidney on Saturday, getting their 2009 RBS 6 Nations campaign off to a very encouraging start as France were felled in thrilling fashion at Croke Park.
In typical fashion, Declan Kidney deflected much of the praise directed his way after the match onto the players.
The Irish coach said that the players deserve great credit for the manner of the win and that there is sure to an added spark when they return to training, ahead of next Sunday’s clash with Italy.
Speaking after Ireland’s first defeat of France in six years, Kidney said: “I’m delighted for the players. The amount of pride these guys have every time they arrive into camp and put on a jersey and the disappointment that’s there when fellas don’t get picked, you can always touch it on a Monday or Tuesday.
“And I’m just delighted for them that a few things went our way this time.
“In some of the Ireland-France matches recently I think the lads have probably been a little unlucky in that a few things didn’t go their way – I think just a bounce of a ball could have won other games for them.
“There’s lots of things for us to look at, which is always a good sign too. But it will certainly make going training easier on Monday and more enjoyable, that’s a fact.”
Kidney insisted that this is a victory to be enjoyed by one and all and he paid particular mention to the coaches in clubs and schools who had helped bring the current senior players through the ranks.
“Any day, as an Irish team, that you get the better of France is a great day and one to be enjoyed by everybody.
“The work that goes into making this team, the lads came in in good form from the provinces.
“I suppose from my own background, I think of the schools coaches and the club coaches and the underage, the fellas that have being working with all the players coming up along the line.
“Hopefully it’s a day that everyone will enjoy and it’s a privilege for us to be here.”
The Corkman explained that a lot of hard work had been put in by the players and coaching staff in the lead-up to this game, and that the senior players have come to the fore in offering input.
“Probably the win against Argentina and the results that the lads got in November, all that added to the confidence.
“I can’t overstate the work that we did at the Christmas meeting and in the last few weeks. The lads have been brilliant in the way that they’ve been coming up with ideas.
“As an example, Strings (Peter Stringer) was inside in the dressing room at half-time putting in his tuppence worth. When you have that amount of experience there, It’s prudent just to tap into it and try and get fellas to come out with it.
“It’s their gameplan and we’ll just try and mix it between ourselves, and hopefully we’ll keep improving.
“You know, it’s the exact same as 24 hours – we still just have four (provincial) teams. We have to work really hard. This pool of players do that.
“If you could follow them around for a month just to know how hard they work, they work extremely hard and they should be extremely proud of themselves (this evening).”
Although Ireland leaked two tries on the night, their defence and commitment in the tackle helped them remain ahead of France at crucial stages towards the end of each half.
Kidney agreed: “Our defence was top class. Les (Kiss) has been doing a great job with it.
“The forwards were immense and in his absence, I think it’s only right to mention Paul O’Connell’s contribution during the week. He was brilliant.
I have a great bunch of team leaders, the two lads here (Brian O’Driscoll and Ronan O’Gara), Bestie (Rory Best) and Paul. They certainly bring their bit to it.
“If you give the French space, they’re brilliant. They’re a joy to go and watch because some of the movements they were coming up with (today) were exceptionally good and we had to be really sharp to close them down.
“A few times there in the first half when they were fresh, they made inroads on us but because we managed to close down a bit of space, they had to work a bit harder and we closed them off.
“It was probably no more so typified than in the last 30 seconds when the try wouldn’t have effected the result but the boys had great pride in it (the defence0 and dug in and they weren’t going to let them get over.”