Coach Declan Kidney believes Ireland have an exciting blend of youth and experience in their back division

Last Updated: 30/01/13 6:45am

  • Share:

Sky Bet

Ireland supremo Declan Kidney believes Ireland have an exciting blend of youth and experience in their back division as they prepare to take on Wales in their RBS Six Nations opener.

Young, fleet-footed wingers Craig Gilroy and Simon Zebo - who have only four caps between them - are very much the new kids on the block when compared to the centre partnership of Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy who boast nearly 200 international appearances between them.

Kidney feels the injection of youth has lifted spirits in the camp and is hoping his side can build on their last performance - a convincing 46-24 triumph over Argentina in November.

"The younger guys were buzzing around the camp in November and that has carried on into this month," stated the Ireland coach.

"A couple of the more senior players are starting to feel their age with the younger fellas around them.

Mix

"Look at the back line and the numbers - it's like the lotto. You've got one, 120, 71 and three in terms of the number of caps. There's a mix of experience."

One of Kidney's toughest calls was the make-up of his back-row to face Wales with fit-again former European player of the year Sean O'Brien significantly strengthening his hand.

Ultimately O'Brien got the nod to return alongside number eight, and new skipper, Jamie Heaslip, while Munster's Peter O'Mahony edged out Ulster's Chris Henry for the blindside spot.

"It was bit of a call. In terms of a mix as a starting back row, we felt Peter, Jamie (Heaslip) and Sean would be good for us. Chris' performances did make it a topic of conversation," Kidney said.

  • Share:

Related

RBS Six Nations 2013

Philippe Saint Andre: Under pressure after back-to-back defeats

Clerc fit for Twickenham clash

Under-pressure France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made five changes to his squad for their clash with England.

Scott Johnson: takes charge of Scotland for the first time at Twickenham

Scotland boss shrugs off row

Scotland interim boss Scott Johnson refused to comment on English 'arrogance' ahead of the Calcutta Cup.

Declan Kidney: Cautious mood

Club form no factor for Kidney

Ireland coach Declan Kidney says the Welsh clubs' poor club form this season will not be a factor in Saturday's match.

Poll

Most Popular

Features

The Off Load

The Off Load

Rupert Cox reviews the weekend's rugby including another win for New Zealand and a loss for Toulouse.

English Rose

English Rose

The values of English rugby were underlined on Monday as they launched their new kit in association with Canterbury.

Mental edge

Mental edge

Thinus Delport, Sean Fitzpatrick, Michael Lynagh and Gonzalo Camacho react to the Rugby Championship