Smal, who was linked with the South Africa head coach role after the World Cup, has become one of the world's highest-regarded coaches but Kidney has no qualms about throwing Foley in at the deep end.
The 38-year-old Foley has the experience of working with the Wolfhounds to call on and Kidney, who made the powerful No. 8 his captain during his Munster days, believes the decision was a no-brainer.
He told the Irish Independent: "Anthony has a great understanding of the game, he always managed the game very well.
"Rugby is not complicated, you can complicate it if you want but he knows how to simplify it. He would have had a desire to get into coaching and he has made a very good start, although I wouldn't want to put a hex on him.
"You never know the opportunities that will come up and we are grateful for Munster's willingness and Anthony's desire to come in and fill the breach left by Gert."
In the meantime Ireland will be looking to bounce back from an opening weekend 23-21 loss to Wales and Kidney is anticipating the temporary departure of Smal to have an impact against Jacques Brunel's side.
"It may take us a while but we know what the lads want to do," added Kidney.
"We need the wisdom to do the right thing from the start, bring in things that we have been working on and not force it."