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Kidney hoping to get players back

By Barnaby Chesterman 06/02/2011 02:42:36 PM Comments (0)

Ireland coach Declan Kidney hopes to start getting some of his injured stars back ahead of next week's Six Nations clash with France.

Ireland were missing 12 players usually involved in the first team picture for their last gasp 13-11 victory in Rome.

But British Lions forwards Jamie Heaslip and Stephen Ferris are two of those closing in on a return.

"The good news is that I don't think we lost anyone (on Saturday). Jamie wasn't looking too bad," said Kidney.

"Andrew Trimble is seeing a specialist and Steve (Ferris) will have another run on Monday. But these guys (who played) now have a game under their belt.

"The first 60 minutes we were a far from perfect outfit, we have a lot of work to do to be a lot more clinical.

"But that last five minutes you can't coach that and as a coach you're blessed to find yourself with a group of men like that. They'll get stronger now they have a game under their belt."

Italy looked set to record their first ever Six Nations victory against Ireland when Australian-born full-back Luke McLean dived over in the corner five minutes from time to give them an 11-10 lead.

But Quintin Geldenhuys knocked on from the resulting kick-off and Ireland went through the phases before setting up Ronan O'Gara to knock over the winning drop goal two minutes from time.

"It was a good team drop goal, I thought everybody knew what they were doing at the end Ronan fulfilled his part of it," said Kidney.

"He's done it before, that's why you need experience on the pitch, we're blessed with two good fly-halves but that's not different to a number of countries."

Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll had said on the eve of the game that one day Italy would beat his team in the tournament and his words almost returned to haunt him.

"The game's not over until it's over and as long as you still have the ability to go back as we had with four minutes to go and create something and give yourself an opportunity then you're still in the game," he said.

"When I said that it's the same as us saying some day Ireland will beat the All Blacks. We haven't done it yet but it's a similar sort of thing.

"I'm not a betting man but the law of averages say that when teams play that often that they are eventually going to beat one another and it was very close today and we were fortunate to a degree to come out of it."

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