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Ireland’s Declan Kidney has World Cup picks to make for France return

August 15th, 2011 by · No Comments · Features

France 19-12 Ireland

Declan Kidney has two days to try to work out where Irish World Cup hopes lie, before he has to make two announcements that will go a long way to revealing the 30 players he will take to New Zealand.

After this second warm-up defeat, Kidney will on Wednesday name his squad for the return match against France in Dublin on Saturday. He will also select a squad to play Connacht on Thursday.

The Dublin squad is expected to reveal not just those players Kidney has pencilled in to play against USA in New Plymouth and then, six days later, against Australia in Auckland, but also those among the walking wounded who will definitely be on the plane. The captain, Brian O’Driscoll, has raised expectations by suggesting he is ready to play against France, but news of his centre partner, Gordon D’Arcy, and the flanker Stephen Ferris is less clear.

By the time Kidney makes his double announcement the France coach, Marc Lièvremont, should have also revealed the potential of his team, who looked like World Cup winners for 30 minutes in Bordeaux, before losing the influential centre Maxime Mermoz just as the magic was beginning to wear off.

Lièvremont has promised a new team for Dublin, but given that he has only 32 players from whom to chose, including six props, the chances of him keeping his word appear slim. However, it is news of Mermoz, who was missing for much of the last Six Nations with a damaged shoulder, that will matter most. With Aurélien Rougerie back in training for less than two weeks, after three months out with a fractured ankle, France’s centre resources are slim. Lièvremont said Mermoz would be fit in a fortnight but coaches are notoriously optimistic – or secretive – ahead of big competitions.

Without Mermoz and the interplay with David Marty that produced Vincent Clerc’s try, France looked pretty pedestrian, but by the time the Perpignan centre sprained his ankle and made way for David Skrela they were 13 points ahead and Kidney was suffering a dose of the vapours. After being pipped in a poor match in Edinburgh last week, his plans for an extended World Cup warm-up looked close to being in tatters. Irish resolve, French fumbling and precise kicking from Ronan O’Gara got the score back to 13-12, before Dimitri Yachvili kicked his third and fourth penalties.

“I’d hate to say that I’m glad we had a good second half,” said Kidney, sounding about as angry as he ever gets. “We lost the game and that’s what we need to look at.”

Others, including two Irish forwards, the prop Mike Ross and the flanker Sean O’Brien, pointed to the heat and humidity of Bordeaux in August, which should not be an issue in Dublin or New Plymouth. Off camera, Kidney emphasised just how much the return on Saturday now means as the clock ticks down.

“I won’t make excuses,” he said. “We have one week to move on.”

France: Traille (Biarritz; Médard, Toulouse, 64); Clerc (Toulouse), Marty (Perpignan), Mermoz (Perpignan; Skrela, Toulouse, 26), Palisson (Brive); Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Yachvili (Biarritz; Parra, Clermont Auvergne, 77); Marconnet (Stade Français;Poux, Toulouse, 54), Szarzewski (Stade; Guirado, Perpignan, 54), Ducalcon (Castres), Pierre (Clermont), Millo-Chlusky(Toulouse; Nallet, Racing Metro, 58), Dusautoir (capt), Harinordoquy (Biarritz; Bonnaire, Clermont, 64), Lakafia (Biarritz).

Try Clerc Con Yachvili Pens Yachvili 4

Ireland: Kearney (Leinster; Jones, Munster, 46); Trimble (Ulster; McFadden, Leinster, 67), Earls (Munster), Wallace (Ulster),Fitzgerald (Leinster); O’Gara (Munster), Reddan (Leinster; Murray, Leinster, 60); Healy (Leinster; Buckley, Sale, 51), Best(Ulster; Flannery, Munster, 60), Ross (Leinster; Healy, 69), O’Callaghan (Munster), Cullen (Leinster, capt; O’Connell, Munster, 50), Ryan (Munster), O’Brien (Leinster), Leamy (Munster; Heaslip, Leinster, 50).

Pens O’Gara 4.

Referee D Pearson (England) Attendance 34,500. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & ConditionsMore Feeds

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