Ireland fullback Rob Kearney insists only the players can be held accountable for a troubled Six Nations campaign that appears to be doing terminal harm to the reign of head coach Declan Kidney.
A logic-defying 12-8 defeat against Scotland meant Kidney suffered back-to-back championship setbacks for the first time and his chances of securing a contract extension beyond the summer seem bleak.
Supporters angry at seeing a team that began the Six Nations so brightly in Cardiff implode amid baffling tactics, erratic on-field leadership and general ineptitude have called for Kidney’s removal.
But Kearney points to Ireland’s complete dominance in virtually every department in Edinburgh - except on the scoreboard - as an explanation as why the players and not Kidney must accept responsibility
“On a day like that when we had so much possession and created so much, the blame has to be on the players,” the Leinster full-back said.
“The coaches can’t make that final pass for you or make that clinical decision. The players must take responsibility and must bear the brunt.
“The guys were happy with the gameplan and how we were playing the game. We created opportunities
“The stats show that we played the right way. It was just one of those days when you can’t really explain things.
“It was very disappointing as we should have won and as a team we have to take responsibility for that.”