6 Nations: Ireland coach still fuming at game change
Thursday 16 Feb 2012 2:02 p.m.
Ireland coach Declan Kidney (Reuters)
Ireland coach Declan Kidney is still fuming at the decision by Six Nations rugby organisers to reset the match against France for Sunday, March 4.
Kidney sympathized with Irish fans on Wednesday, a day after tournament officials set the new date for the match which was postponed moments before kickoff last Saturday because parts of the Stade de France field were frozen.
All 78,000 outraged ticketholders have been offered refunds, but Kidney believed Irish fans will be hard-pressed to flock back to Paris for a Sunday match with a 4 p.m. kickoff.
"The management and team will get on with it, that's our job and we'll prepare in the best way possible," Kidney said. "But I'm really disappointed for the supporters, they've been unfairly treated.
"I'm not sure how they'll manage. It's really awkward and will be extremely difficult for them. Can they afford to go again for the whole weekend? I doubt it, not in these times. But then if you're fortunate to have work on Monday morning, how do you get home on Sunday night? We've been really fortunate in how Irish fans support us and the provincial teams."
Ireland preferred the match on a Saturday, to also give them a seven-day turnaround. The French Rugby Federation and French league wanted the match delayed to next season so as not to oppose the Top 14. Six Nations organizers ended up pleasing only broadcasters.
Ireland and France will have to play four weekends in a row but Kidney was philosophical.
"If you start looking at it as four in a row, you're looking at the whole picture," he said. "We need to focus (next week) on Italy, who improved against England. England only just managed to get the better of them.
"Time has shown that if you don't deal with what's in front of you, you won't have a good day."