Rory Best: Ireland will struggle to replace defence coach Les Kiss

first_img Best believes Ireland have a job on their hands to find Kiss’ equal, with the popular Australian having taken over as rugby director at Ulster. The Ireland hooker backed head coach Schmidt to pull off another coup however, citing Simon Easterby’s progress as forwards coach in replacing John Plumtree to underscore that belief. O’Mahony is pencilled in for a March return after knee surgery, but that timescale could yet prove optimistic. South Africa-born back-rower CJ Stander has now qualified for Ireland on residency, and could yet be drafted into the Six Nations squad. Foley has chosen Stander to captain Munster’s Champions Cup matches, and backed the 25-year-old to sustain his fine form with the province. “Paul O’Connell’s gone, and someone else will take up the mantle and we’ll get on with it,” said Foley. “Talking to him last year before the Toulon thing came up he wasn’t coming back to play for Munster so we knew that was happening anyway. “So it was never in his or my mind for him to be involved this year, so he moves on as others have in the past, and best of luck to him. “It’s not about replacing Paul O’Connell it’s about the next guys coming in and doing the very best that they can do. “CJ’s been announced as captain for the European Cup group, and that’s where we see his influence at the moment. “We’ve got great influence throughout the group, we’ve got a lot of leaders. “We can’t rely on one person, it’s never been the case at Munster, it’s always been a group approach, that’s always been our strength. “The group must be the most important thing. “He’s moved over lock-stock, his girlfriend’s over here, he’s settled his life in Limerick and enjoying it at the moment. “He’s really enjoying it, buying in and he’s got a great mentality and attitude around the place. “It should be March in terms of Peter (O’Mahony), it’s a fairly lengthy recovery. “Big injuries are part of the game at the moment unfortunately. “He will come back, it’s a long road but hopefully we’ll see him before the end of the season.” Press Association Ireland boss Joe Schmidt will struggle to replace “one of the best defence coaches in the world” in Les Kiss, according to Rory Best. “I think it will be tough: if you’re trying to replace like-for-like in terms of Les, for me he’s one of the best defence coaches in the world,” said Best. “I’d have no problem standing over that. “It’s going to be very tough, but with Joe there, he managed to make it work when John Plumtree left. “Joe brought in Simon Easterby and he’s brought different strengths, and I don’t think the forward play has suffered any for that. “Joe knows what he wants, knows what he likes and knows how he wants Ireland to go forward. “And he’ll bring in someone accordingly.” Ireland must plough quickly through a state of flux after their World Cup quarter-final exit, seeking a new captain after Paul O’Connell’s Test retirement. Peter O’Mahony will be among the front-runners for the long-term job, but Munster boss Anthony Foley confirmed the combative flanker looks unlikely to feature in the Six Nations. last_img read more

Syracuse looks to avoid 3rd consecutive loss on road at Maryland

first_img Published on February 24, 2014 at 1:18 am Contact Stephen: | @Stephen_Bailey1 The magical run is over. The longest winning streak in program history is done.Boston College ended Syracuse’s streak on Wednesday, and Duke brought the Orange back down out of orbit again on Saturday.SU head coach Jim Boeheim touched on the struggle during his sassy post-ejection press conference.“I don’t think we’ll probably play again,” Boeheim quipped after his team’s 66-60 loss to the Blue Devils. “I just think we’ll give up. Jeez, we’ll probably lose again.”The now two-loss Orange (25-2, 12-2 Atlantic Coast) will try to avoid losing again when it travels to College Park, Md., to face the Terrapins (15-12, 7-7) on Monday at 7 p.m. With a game next Saturday against Virginia, which is now alone atop the conference standings, Syracuse may need to win each of its final four games to be the top seed in the ACC tournament.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’s going to be another tough game,” SU forward C.J. Fair said. “Maryland is going to be a tough environment there as well. We’ve got to have the attitude that we can’t lose, no matter what it takes. “We just can’t lose again.”Fair was one of the improved players for the Orange in its 66-60 loss to the Blue Devils. He shot 6-of-12 for 12 points, and collected seven rebounds, but was called for a controversial charge on Rodney Hood with 10.4 seconds to play.Fellow wing Jerami Grant also shined, finishing with a team-high 17 points and eight rebounds.But the rest of the starters — Tyler Ennis, Trevor Cooney and Rakeem Christmas — managed just 19 points on a combined 6-of-24 shooting.“We have a lot of poise,” Grant said. “We went 25 straight. Two losses kind of hurts, but at the same time we know that we’ll come back from it now.”The Terrapins are a quality team, but the Orange may be catching them at the right time. UMD has lost three of its last five, most recently beating a floundering Wake Forest squad 71-60 on Tuesday. Nick Faust scored a career-high 20 points against the Demon Deacons, shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-7 from deep.After the game, Faust told reporters that the team was looking forward to hosting the then-undefeated Orange.“They’re a great team,” Faust said. “We have a lot of time before we play them. We’re looking forward to practicing and getting better.”Maryland has now watched two teams knock off Syracuse, and possesses the necessary tools to duplicate the successes of Duke and Boston College. Forward Jake Layman shoots near 40 percent from downtown and could also hurt the Orange if the Terps stick him in the high post. Dez Wells could have a similar effect on the game, as an athletic dual-threat guard that could hurt Syracuse from the perimeter or around the paint. While they aren’t an elite-level ACC team, the Terps are still capable of beating the Orange.And for Fair, who grew up in Baltimore and played with Faust at Baltimore City High School, the game has a little extra meaning. Said Fair: “You want to have a game where you can bounce back and fortunately we can prove ourselves in a couple days.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more