As the dust settled on Ireland’s heartbreaking defeat to New Zealand in the GUINNESS Series, assistant coach Les Kiss gave his assessment of the campaign to RTE 2fm’s ‘Game On’ programme.
ON HOW THE GUINNESS SERIES WENT:
We’re proud of the effort of the guys, where they went to and how they went about their business. But the general feeling is that we’re not totally satisfied at all.
We want to win those matches (against the likes of New Zealand and Australia), we believed we could. We did everything bar a couple of things to nail it (on Sunday).
It’s s funny feeling, it’s unfinished business. We know we’ve made some progress through the series, a lot of things came through that we were hoping would come through a bit quicker at times.
To get that close (against the All Blacks) and have it taken away is very disappointing and for us. We just want to make sure we get things right so it doesn’t happened again.
ON WHAT IRELAND CAN TAKE FROM THE THREE GAMES:
There’s a lot to be taken from the series in terms of some of the personnel, and definitely the teams that we played. We knew we were up for some very big battles. Samoa in recent times have been a fairly dynamic team, they maybe haven’t performed in this series as they would have liked to.
I think Australia showed they are a team that are, slowly but surely, gathering pace – mind you we were very disappointing against them.
And of course, New Zealand are the standard bearers of rugby at the moment, they’re a phenomenal side and they’re the biggest challenge in rugby.
All those experiences should stand well for our young guys, but also I think for the group as a whole. We’re very big on making sure it’s all in together, that we forge something together and we learn together…that we build on each experience to make sure that we are becoming the type of team we’d like to be, and that is to make sure that every Test match is approached the same as the New Zealand one.
ON THE COMPETITION FOR PLACES AND CHANGES IN APPROACH:
There is some competition building. It’s by no means complete yet, there’s still a lot of things to learn for the young guys. Also a lot of things to learn for the group in terms of how we want to take the game forward.
There were significant changes in our approach, in a lot of our methods and how we think about the game tactically, philosophically…those things were a lot to take on in a small campaign window.
The set pieces shifted in their approach, the attack, the defence has moved considerably in some areas of operation. So there’s a whole heap of challenges that came in.
I think the young guys that are coming through are putting the right type of competition in the right places, but as a group we’re putting competition and competitive pressures on ourselves to be the best we can be against these bigger nations.
ON THE PROGRESS MADE AND BUILDING FOR THE SIX NATIONS:
We’ve got to make sure we’re doing the right things to ensure that the big gap before the Six Nations – those two months – that we fill it with the right type of messages and make sure that we bring forward the right type of consistency we’re looking for and that starts with Scotland (in February).
The bottom line is we still only won one of three in the series, we know that that’s below what we would have liked. However, underneath that there’s this progress, the little green shoots of progress that are coming – we see it internally, the leadership group see it, they’re embracing it.
I think they’re looking forward to coming together again and there is a real positive vibe around the place. Hopefully we can maintain that level of positivity when we next get together (before Christmas) and harness it and build into some better performances.