Kidney hits back at Horan's 'scandalous' attacks on Ireland


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Declan Kidney yesterday rounded on Tim Horan in response to the Australia great's accusations of Irish subterfuge at Eden Park last Saturday. Kidney branded Horan's claim that Ireland feigned injuries during the historic 15-6 victory over the Wallabies as "incredulous and slightly scandalous".

Adding to the sense of grievance in the Irish camp is the allegation that Alan Gaffney, Ireland's Australian back coach, was the source of the information.

Horan, who won 80 caps for Australia between 1989-2000, wrote in his column in an Australian newspaper: "Ireland had a deliberate plan to fake injuries each time there was a breakdown in play so they could slow the game down and frustrate the Wallabies. How can I be sure? By talking to Irish assistant coach Alan Gaffney in the dressing rooms afterwards."

Kidney denied Horan's account. "What I can tell you for definite is that the reporter in question [Horan] was never in the dressing room," said Kidney. "The coach in question [Gaffney] never spoke to him, so I'll let you make your own inferences on how he feels he can quote something that was never said.

"It's slightly scandalous that he'd try to bring one of his fellow countrymen into something that is totally untrue. It's for other people to have their standards in life. It's important that if we get something wrong, we hold up our hand. When we don't get something wrong we'll defend ourselves and we wouldn't be shy in doing so."

Horan heavily criticised referee Bryce Lawrence and said he should not oversee another match at the World Cup, but conceded "Ireland deserved to win and always would have won". However, his suggestion that Lawrence "destroyed the spectacle of the game" failed to paint the winning performance in a positive light.

The view taken by Horan will fuel the sentiment that Ireland have not been given the respect they deserve for a stunning victory. Though lacking in tries, the defeat of the Tri-Nations champions and World Cup second favourites was captivating and exposed Australia's shortcomings.

Ireland's next assignment may lack the lustre of a showdown with the Wallabies, but Kidney insists Russia will be treated with equal respect. The Pool C rivals meet at Rotorua International Stadium tomorrow (6am BST) and Kidney is refusing to take comfort from Russia's 53-17 thumping by Italy earlier in the week.

"If we win 3-0 I'll be happy. If we're capable of beating Australia, we're also capable of losing to Russia," he said. "We've had enough experience to know that at World Cups there are no easy matches."

Ireland have made nine changes and one positional switch for their penultimate group game. Among the new faces is Ulster centre Paddy Wallace, who will be making his first start and only second appearance at a World Cup despite having travelled to the last three tournaments.

Ireland: R Kearney (Leinster); F McFadden (Leinster), K Earls (Munster), P Wallace (Ulster), A Trimble (Ulster); R O'Gara (Munster), I Boss (Leinster); C Healy (Leinster), S Cronin (Leinster), T Buckley (Munster), D O'Callaghan (Munster), L Cullen (Leinster, capt), D Ryan (Munster), S O'Brien (Leinster), J Heaslip (Leinster). Replacements: R Best (Ulster), M Ross (Munster), D Leamy (Munster), S Jennings (Leinster), E Reddan (Leinster), J Sexton (Leinster), G Murphy (Leicester).

Russia: V Artemyev (Northampton); D Simplikevich (Yenisey-STM), A Kuzin (VVA-Podmoskovje), S Trishin (VVA-Podmoskovje), V Ostroushko (Yenisey-STM); K Rachkov (Stade Phoceen), A Yanyushkin ( VVA-Podmoskovje, capt); S Popov (Slava Moscow), V Tsnobiladze (Novokuznetsk), A Khrokin (VVA-Podmoskovje), D Antonov (Slava Moscow), A Byrnes (Melbourne Revels), A Fatakhov (VVA-Podmoskovje), A Garbuzov (Krasny Yar), V Gresev (VVA-Podmoskovje). Replacements: E Matveev (VVA-Podmoskovje), I Prishchepenko (Krasny-Yar), A Travkin (VVA-Podmoskovje), A Voytov (VVA-Podmoskovje), A Bykanov (Slava Moscow), M Sidorov (Slava Moscow), M Babaev (VVA-Podmoskovje).

Referee C Joubert (South Africa).