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Kidney Draws On The Positives

Kidney Draws On The Positives

The Ireland squad and management are readying themselves for their next summer tour match against New Zealand Maori in Rotorua, following a disappointing defeat by the All Blacks on Saturday.

Jamie Heaslip’s sending-off, on the quarter hour mark, was one of the talking points from Saturday’s Test match at Yarrow Stadium.

Heaslip was red carded by referee Wayne Barnes for apparently striking a New Zealand player with his knee at a ruck in the first quarter of the game.

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Giving his reaction to Sky Sports straight after the game, Ireland head coach Declan Kidney said: “We’ll take a look at it (the incident). Black was leaning right over the ball, and we reacted in a way we shouldn’t have.

“But I wouldn’t be saying anything, let’s take a look at it when we’ve calmed down a bit. I haven’t spoken to him (Jamie) yet.”

The loss of the in-form number 8 was a blow as Ireland competed with the likes of Dan Carter and new full-back Israel Dagg who were among the stand-out players for New Zealand.

With Heaslip off and Ronan O’Gara sin-binned for pulling back an All Blacks player chasing a kick, New Zealand crafted their win in the first half well with Conrad Smith running through for the opening try.

Kieron Read crossed for the second while Ireland were down to 14 men, and the All Blacks added three converted tries from Ben Franks and Jimmy Cowan (2) during O’Gara’s stint in the sin-bin.

O’Gara returned to convert Dan Tuohy’s timely try, and Ireland can at least take some heart from their improved showing after the break.

Brian O’Driscoll nudged his Irish try-scoring record to 40 tries and Tommy Bowe and Gordon D’Arcy also crossed the whitewash as Ireland lost the second half verdict 28-21.

Reflecting on the 66-28 reversal, which marks the heaviest defeat of his two-year reign, Kidney admitted: “It was a horror show, we gave away a lot of soft tries, missed tackles and fell off our defensive system. We’re going to have to take a good hard look at that.

“But you try to keep a balance in life. Sometimes it’s in times of adversity that you see the real character, and I thought the boys got a handle on it in the second half, the way it’s more like keep ball now.

“We managed to keep the ball in the second half and did that little bit better. The players picked themselves up at half-time, and there was evidence of that in the second half.”