Kidney cautious before Six Nations clash

Published Friday, 01 February 2013
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Ireland coach Declan Kidney dismissed his team's Heineken Cup performance as having any relevance ahead of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations opening clash against Wales.

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The coach was talking tactics with Craig Gilroy at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff on Friday, as both are under pressure to prove themselves against the Welsh side.

For Ulster man Gilroy it's his chance to prove why he was selected over Andrew Trimble, and to show his dazzling display over Argentina in November wasn't a one-off.

And if Kidney fails to get results in this championship, his time coaching the Ireland team is likely to come to an end as his contract runs out.

He is expecting a tough game against the Grand Slam champions.

"I think last year showed that European form has absolutely nothing to do with it," he said.

"I think Test level is just a step above that. The lads know one another well enough from playing in the RaboDirect, and so there won't be an inch.

"It will be a real test game and I think that that is the excitement and the challenge and all the other words that I could come up with that go into tomorrow.

"I think what's gone on previous, I think that's the great thing about this competition is that what's gone on previous historically is shown to mean nothing.

"It's just clean slate for everybody, and let's see who gets out of the traps first tomorrow."

Wales have lost their last seven games since winning the Grand Slam but coach Shaun Edwards pointed out that the team beat Ireland last year to take the victory.

While Ireland will be represented by Munster and Ulster in this season's European quarter-finals, Welsh trio Cardiff Blues, the Scarlets and Ospreys all made pool stage exits and won just three games between them.

Ireland are tipped as favourites to beat Wales for the first time in four attempts.

Kickoff is at 1.30pm on Saturday.

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