Kidney remains upbeat while brushing off questions about his future
Although jogging at Carton House yesterday Jonathan Sexton is still rated at less than 50-50 to make the game against France next week. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
RUGBY:Declan Kidney has needed a broad back for the last few days, and yesterday he presented an upbeat front, apparently not only to his media inquisitors but to his starting XV who returned for a two-day camp at Carton House yesterday, despite the get-together beginning with a morning video-nasty. He’s no mug and can read the tea leaves, but the show must go on.
Needless to say, he also played a smiling dead bat to all inquiries as to his own future, maintaining he was only thinking of the next game. To that end, he and his coaches will take a keen watching brief this weekend on the outhalves in the mix to play France tomorrow week – namely Paddy Jackson, Ronan O’Gara and Ian Madigan. The hamstrung Jonny Sexton, though jogging, is rated as “less than 50-50”.
Mark Tainton will travel to Newport today for Leinster’s non-televised game against the Dragons, where he will also be observing the form of Luke Fitzgerald, Fergus McFadden and Eoin Reddan, with Andrew Trimble, starting on the right wing for Ulster at home to Treviso tonight, also under scrutiny.
Jackson probably remains in pole position to start provided he has a decent place-kicking return tonight, while the wing positions are possibly a little more fluid again, not least due to Craig Gilroy’s groin strain and the possible merits for including McFadden.
Gilroy should train next week but somewhat alarmingly Donnacha Ryan is rated at less than 50-50 due to the bruised A/C joint he suffered against Scotland. He was “hopeful” of being fit next week, and either way in the context of the 23 to face France, it is perhaps significant that Dan Tuohy, who returns to the Ulster side tonight, was added to the Irish squad yesterday.
Aside from the captaincy and the goal-kicking gamble of Murrayfield, the other issue haunting Kidney is the team’s lack of consistency, all the more so as the fault lines vary from game to game.
Staying the course
“When any team evolves as this one is doing, it takes a period of time when you’re going to be knocking on the door. You try not to knock on the door for too long, and then they’ll get a win and a lot of things will kick into place. And they are knocking on the door, that’s the frustrating thing about it. The recurring theme is that you could say, well, we’ve tried not to make excuses but if one pass went to hand then all of a sudden a whole lot of things change. So it’s a case of staying the course with it.”