Kidney on Strauss: 'Them's the rules'
Thu, 25 Oct 2012 08:27
Everybody is doing it
Ireland coach Declan Kidney stood his ground in the face of criticism over his selection of South African hooker Richardt Strauss for the year-end Tests.
Strauss was on Wednesday named in a 31-man squad for the games against South Africa (November 10), Fiji and Argentina on consecutive weekends.
While Strauss, who arrived in Dublin in early November 2009 and had his passport stamped on November 4, is not the first South African to be called up to play for another country.
Nor is he the first from another country to be called up to represent Ireland.
However, his selection before he formally qualifies in terms of the IRB's residency rules seems to have caused a stir in the Emerald Isle.
Kidney insisted his call-up was simply due to form.
Others who have played for Ireland through residency include Kurt McQuilkin, who had been playing with Bective Rangers for years and also Leinster before winning the first of his five caps in January 1996, while it would be nothing compared to Warren Gatland plucking Andy Ward from Division Three rugby with Ballynahinch for the first of his 28 caps, against France in Paris in 1998.
"I respect the fact that people will have their views on all of that, but our job is to put the best team out for Ireland and if Richardt falls into that it would be narrow-minded to think that we wouldn't look at every possible option," Kidney told a media briefing in Dublin.
"I don't think we would be doing our job.
"If you like, them's the rules.
"Everybody is doing it. I saw New Zealand and Australia slagging each other off about it recently.
"Richardt, in fairness to him, he has bought into everything Leinster are doing. He has put his hand up. Attitude is the one thing you can't coach and that is why we have selected him."
Kidney spoke of the challenge in facing a match-hardened side, South Africa, ranked third in the world.
"We've two weeks to prepare for it and as a man said to me one time, the trick is knowing what you can afford to leave out doing, because there's a heap of stuff we want to get to."
Forwards coach Gert Smal echoed those views in identifying the strong kicking and territorial game of the Springboks, as well as their maul and general physicality.
"But like Declan says, this is why you want to be in coaching, and why you want to play this game, for these kind of games, especially because it's South Africa. I want to beat South Africa more than any Irishman wants to beat them," said Smal.
Kiss also reckoned Ireland will be facing the most physical side in world rugby, while also trying to exorcise Ireland's 60-0 defeat to New Zealand.
"The one thing that encourages us is that all of the players are absolutely driven to right some wrongs, to make sure that the next time they have the green jersey on here at the Aviva that they do it justice and put that one to bed," said Kiss.
"It will be about the right amount of plans that we can just be physical and direct, and meet the challenge in that respect. And if we can understand that, and get that right, which I've no doubt we will, we'll be in a good place. It's going to be a huge challenge but we're up for it."
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