Ireland head coach Declan Kidney has expressed his sympathy with the thousands of fans who made the trip to Paris and then saw Saturday’s RBS 6 Nations match against France called off at the last minute.
But Declan Kidney also said he understood referee Dave Pearson’s decision to postpone the game, having witnessed up close how dangerous certain areas of the pitch were.
“It’s a very difficult situation where one man has to decide on 70,000 people all ready to watch a match, 30 players all ready to go and then whether the pitch is safe or not,” he said.
“We had done our research before we came over – the Six Nations rules are that it’s at the sole discretion of the referee. He had to make his call.
“We walked the part of the pitch that he was concerned with and I understand why he made his call.
“I would be very disappointed for the supporters, I’d be disappointed for the players but I’d be more disappointed if I was sitting in hospital with somebody who had a very bad injury.”
Kidney went on to explain why the problem areas of the pitch could have been hazardous for the players.
“Down that bottom right-hand corner, if you were running at full pace, it would have been quite difficult to turn, and the nature of rugby is that balls are nudged into the corner. You could have got away with but who’s to know?”
There were plenty of green jerseys on show in the Stade de France ahead of kick-off, and the Corkman said he felt for supporters who had made the effort to travel to the French capital.
“That’s the great pity and the great shame. That’s the real disappointment for the supporters, especially with times like they are at home, it’s not as easy to come up with the cash to go on these trips.”
Many supporters who attended Saturday’s non-event will have difficulty making the rearranged fixture but Kidney said he still hopes some fans can make the trip to Paris again.
“Absolutely, whatever they can do. We’ve a lot of ex-pats now working in Europe between France and people would have come in from London on the Euro tunnel, in from Brussels. You need all the support you can get away from home.
“Obviously you saw what a difference it made to us when we were in New Zealand at the World Cup. We’ll be looking forward to that again but we fully understand the times we live in as well and the onus is on us to play the best game we can whenever we play here next again.”