Little to say after a pitiful show


IT was a sombre and depleted Irish management team at the press conference following the humiliation at Parc des Princes. It was hard to find much in the way of positive aspects in a performance of such abject ineptitude in which Ireland endured the most comprehensive defeat in the history of the International Championship.

The French total of 45 points was the highest score against Ireland in a series that dates back over 100 years (one point more than in the corresponding match two years ago), and the losing margin of 35 points was also a record - three points more than that sustained against France and England.

The Ireland captain, Jim Staples, who left the field at half time because of concussion, faces the mandatory three week rest period and will not be available for the match against Wales on Saturday week. Staples did not attend the press conference on doctor's orders.

In the wake of this debacle, Ireland coach Murray Kidd said: "This defeat does not necessarily mean we cannot pick ourselves up. We will sit down and watch the video. We paid for fallible defence and very poor ball retention.

"I think we have the spirit in the side to lift ourselves," he said. "We turned over far too much possession and at times won line outs and then lost 30 and 40 metres. They got a few doubtful tries, but once they got the early points we were in trouble." Spirit and passion were in fact two traditional attributes notably absent from Ireland's performance.

Whelan said: "We were well beaten." One could say that was a statement of the obvious. "We must now gather our thoughts," added the manager. They will have some hard thinking to do and telling lessons to absorb. "We will probably select the side to meet Wales next Friday."

And the positive aspects of Ireland's performance? "I thought some of the young players did well, such as Niall Woods, who had a fine match, David Humphreys and Victor Costello."

Phillipe Saint Andre, the French captain said: "There are no easy matches in the championship." Perhaps not, but some such as this one are certainly easier than most.