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Versatility Adds To Our Options – Kiss

Versatility Adds To Our Options – Kiss

Defence coach Les Kiss is unconcerned that Ireland will line out at the Stade de France without a recognised winger or full-back on their replacements bench, insisting that there are plenty of options available to the management should an injury or two occur.

Eoin Reddan, Jonathan Sexton and Paddy Wallace will provide the back-line cover for Ireland in Paris, following the finalisation of the matchday squad for the defending champions’ second outing of the 2010 RBS 6 Nations.

Speaking on Thursday, defence coach Les Kiss said that winger Andrew Trimble was forced to bow out of the reckoning for a bench spot due to a hamstring niggle.

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“It’s good to have options. Trimby (Andrew Trimble) has had a hamstring issue all week and hasn’t been able to train fully with us as we’ve gone along,” he said.

“We’ve gone a similar route that we did against South Africa with our replacements on the bench, so it’s served us well in the past.”

On that occasion against the Springboks in November, Ireland had Peter Stringer, Paddy Wallace and Gordon D’Arcy as back reserves, with Wallace, who can slot in at out-half or centre, and D’Arcy having both played at full-back for their respective provinces before.

So, a similar formation in Paris will see the men in green well covered, especially given the versatility amongst the starting backs.

“One of the key strengths is not only the depth we have in the squad but the number of players who can shift around and play in different positions,” he added.

“That’s one of the things we’re going to have to lean on this week at some stage. It may not seem conventional but we’re quite comfortable with that.”

Asked about what might happen if full-back Rob Kearney or the wingers get injured at some stage on Saturday, Kiss explained that the line-up selected has a degree of flexibility.

“There’s a few options there, if there needs to be a change or two in the backs, between (Keith) Earls, (Gordon) D’Arcy, (Paddy) Wallace and (Jonathan) Sexton. There’s many guys who can actually play full-back or shift to the wing.

“In the midfield, we’ve got Drico (Brian O’Driscoll) who can play 12 and 13. Earlsy has been playing 13 a lot with his province.

“So the options are open for us there. A little bit French isn’t it? Unexpected!”

The French also sprung something of a surprise in selecting the inexperienced Alexis Palisson from Brive on the left wing, for his first cap since November 2008.

Kiss feels the call-up for Palisson, who possesses a strong left boot, does not weaken the French side in the slightest.

“It was going to be obvious that they would pick a squad to go for the first two games and they’ve stuck to that, bar injury.

“As is the way with French rugby, if they have a couple of injuries they bring in players of equal if not better quality. We’ll have to be on our toes.”

The comeback of French centre Mathieu Bastareaud was one of the major talking points from the opening weekend of the RBS 6 Nations, with the Stade Francais powerhouse breaking through for two tries in the 18-9 win over Scotland at Murrayfield.

Asked how Ireland will thwart the threat posed by the French midfield, Kiss said: “Without doubt, they are using those power bases they have in the midfield, (Yannick) Jauzion at 12 and (Mathieu) Bastareaud.

“They’ve got some strength there, so we’ve just got to keep turning up and owning up – that’s the message.

“We don’t expect anything much different than they did last week, and probably add a little bit more into it and the game can open up for him.

“It could be a wide to wide or it could be very much around the power base they have around their midfield as well.”