DCSIMG

‘New Ireland’ is the way forward

It is a thumbs up for Craig Gilroy after the Guinness Test series

It is a thumbs up for Craig Gilroy after the Guinness Test series

  • by Richard Mulligan, Sports Editor
 

No one is getting carried away by Ireland’s 46-24 demolition of Argentina in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Nor do I believe that Irish coach, Declan Kidney, is going to totally change his conservative nature when the Six Nations championship arrives and give his ‘new Ireland’ a free reign to ignite rugby on the island again.

But if you have not already put a bet on Ireland to win the Six Nations championship, then put it on the ‘to do’ list this morning.

Ireland have England and France at home in the Championship and having watched the last three internationals, the men in green are well equipped to win away to Wales, Scotland and Italy, if they produce the sort of display on Saturday that was needed to lift Ireland out of the doldrums - their first win in five Test matches; boost the confidence of the players and even have me suggesting that Kidney is the man to take Ireland onto the 2015 World Cup!

Yes, his hand was forced heavily - with key injuries in the squad - to branch out and look at the other talent that was on offer.

And look at what he found.

Craig Gilroy has been the one they are all talking about, while the Simon Zebo experiment has worked at fullback.

Chris Henry emerged as the best number seven on the island, while there is new back-up in key places with the likes of Luke Marshall, Paddy Jackson and Michael Bent.

Kidney, with other clubs, has done it in the past and he is doing it again now - he is building a quality Irish side in advance of the World Cup in 2015, and even 2019.

The Irish coach talked about ‘investments in young players’ by the Union and Provinces.

They are now paying the dividend they were expected to do so - but Kidney must also ensure he manages these investments wisely and not lock them away at a time when they are the way forward and certainly the people who can play a vital role in the Irish coach now being offered a possible extension to his contract next June - if not before.

 

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