Kiss expects 'different challenge'
Rugby:Les Kiss today warned Ireland that subduing England in tomorrow’s Six Nations clash at the Aviva Stadium is a far tougher proposition than dispatching Wales. The title rivals collide in an eagerly awaited clash between two sides high on confidence following impressive climaxes to the autumn and strong starts to the championship.
Ireland registered a record victory over Argentina in November and England outclassed New Zealand. A convincing 30-22 win against Wales last week, which saw Ireland establish a 30-3 lead early in the second half, has heightened belief in the camp, but Kiss insists England will be far less accommodating.
“England pose a different challenge on a couple of fronts. Psychologically, Wales were struggling after seven losses and were desperate to try to create a bit of confidence in their game,” the assistant coach said. “England are a different challenge. They beat New Zealand recently, which was a fine victory, and they did a very good job against Scotland last week so they are in a different frame of mind.
“They are a confident team and so they should be. We expect them to try to bring their strengths to the game which are using a good, big physical forward pack to open up space for some fairly big backs as well. Overall, if we are in control of the things we’ve practised, we feel we can get to a comfortable place but it’s going to be one tough challenge.”
Having put Wales to the sword in a devastating opening, Ireland displayed courage and commitment as they spent most of the second half at the Millennium Stadium defending.
Kiss believes the determination to stop Wales is evidence of the character in the team.
“In the second half there were some stresses and pressures we probably didn’t want to welcome in that type of quantity,” he said. "But sometimes those things happen and you find out a little bit more about yourself as a team and an individual and as a squad. Overall you just have to accept what is, move on and work on the few things that will make a difference and stay resolved to fight for each other. If we do that, we are in a good place.
“There are a couple of little tactical things we’ve worked on in terms of managing those situations better, but sometimes in adversity you find out a little bit more about yourself.”
Kiss has braced Ireland for the appearance of wrecking-ball centre Manu Tuilagi from the bench at some point.
Tuilagi is fit after recovering from an ankle injury, but coach Stuart Lancaster has decided to retain the partnership of Billy Twelvetrees and Brad Barritt that performed well against Scotland.
“I’ve got a lot of regard for Brad Barritt. I coached against him when he was in the Super XV and he’s a very, very good rugby player. He’s got his own strengths that you need to keep an eye on,” Kiss said. “You can see the rationale of why they didn’t put Manu on to start the game. He hasn’t played a lot of rugby recently and you can see that England want to unleash him on us later on.
“When he comes on, we’ve just got to make our tackles”