Sean O’Brien has come to the defence of Ireland manager Declan Kidney, insisting that he and his management team remain the best men for the job of driving the national team forward despite last Saturday’s record 60-0 defeat to New Zealand.
Visit our Partner site ‘Euroodds.co.uk‘ for the latest Euro 2012 odds, tips and betting
Kidney has come in for some scathing criticism since the weekend embarrassment, with many fans unhappy with the team’s performances over the past twelve months.
“The coaching staff, I’ve always said it, is top class there. How can you blame a coach for losing 60-0? You can’t. In fairness, it’s us [the players] and we have to take it on the chin,” O’Brien said yesterday.
“It’s not good enough as international players representing your country and with the support we have to go out and get hockeyed like that. It was embarrassing, to be honest.
“But that’s on our backs and we’ll live with that for a while and we’ll have that hurt for a while. The next time we put on the green shirt we better do it justice.”
The disappointments experienced by the national team recently are in stark contrast to the continued success of the provinces.
“It is a bit frustrating but it’s a massive step from provincial rugby to international rugby,” said O’Brien. “Regardless of how many Heineken Cups the provinces have won together and leagues and what not, it’s a different ball game.
“We might be guilty of not starting well. We need to fire on all cylinders from the word go and that’s what we kind of said going into that second Test over there, to start well, but we just have to do that every week we go out.
“That’s a thing that teams get so used to, when you’re in a flow and you’re winning games and you’re playing well, it’s hard to get knocked off that. If we can get that consistency we’ll be a very hard team to stop.”