Ireland picked up their first away win over Australia for 39 years with a 26-21 victory in Melbourne to leave their three-Test series evenly poised at one apiece.
Nathaniel Cope assesses how the Irish players performed.
15. Rob Kearney 7
Fielded well generally bar a 57th minute knock on when contesting against Israel Folau. Positionally excellent as ever and made inroads when he did get his hands on the ball, without making any noteworthy break.
14. Andrew Conway 7
One of Ireland’s standout performers during the November internationals, both on the wing and at full back, but a knee injury robbed him of the chance to build on that during the Six Nations. Finished off a 7th minute try straight after the Marika Koroibete sinbinning. He was unfortunate to pick up what appeared to be a dead leg in act of scoring and couldn’t shake it off, replaced by Jordan Larmour in the 14th minute.
13. Garry Ringrose 7
Ran a good support line in the 36th minute following a Tadhg Furlong break, if the tighthead had seen him Ireland would have had a certain try. Defensively sound and offers more variety compared to Bundee Aki.
12. Robbie Henshaw 6
Kurtely Beale’s 2nd minute try wasn’t his fault and he kept the former Wasps man contained. Shifted from 13 to 12 to fill in for Aki and accommodate Ringrose. A robust carrier, but the Leinster man didn’t really illustrate that much in this contest.
11. Keith Earls 7
Ireland’s Players’ Player of the Year this season and he looked lively when he got the ball. His defence and fielding have improved immeasurably. Earls was unfortunate to have a 54th minute try ruled out for a knock on when he squeezed his way past the considerable bulk of Israel Folau with little room to work with.
10. Jonny Sexton 7
Six from seven from the tee – four penalties and two conversions. His miss in the 30th minute was horribly hooked. His running game keeps defences guessing and as ever he combined well with Murray. Some of his high hanging kicks were not as accurate as he’d like.
9. Conor Murray 8
Good pass over the top to find Conway for Ireland’s 7th minute try. Had one of his poorest games in an Irish shirt last week but normal service resumed in Melbourne with his usual high-tempo game, with 111 passes he was a busy.
1. Cian Healy 6
Sin binned in the 26th minute for bringing down a rolling maul, which Australia also earned a penalty try from. A eager ball carrier as ever and started the second half particularly well, but picked up knock and was replaced by Jack McGrath in the 46th minute
2. Niall Scannell 7
His fourth Test start and selected ahead of Sean Cronin due to his superior scrummaging ability but carried well and the lineout out functioned well. Shipped a high tackle in the 45th minute and came off in the 49th minute.
3. Tadhg Furlong 9
Set an early marker when he earned a 12th minute penalty at scrum time, winning his contest with Scott Sio. Had a 36th minute break to show his pace, he should have popped to Ringrose who would have scored a try but didn’t see him and instead tried a looping pass and the chance was gone. He more than atoned for that with an outstanding performance. Barged his way over for a 54th minute try, spotting a mismatch with Nick Phipps in front of him, and Rob Simmons couldn’t stop him either. Came off in the 72nd minute, an excellent shift.
4. James Ryan 8
Mr. Consistent. A 9th minute lung-bursting run showed he’s got a bit of gas in the tank. Ireland’s second highest tackler with 11.
5. Devin Toner 7
A go-to option at the lineout, but handy from a restart too, illustrated by his 67th minute take over his head. Did he work in the loose too.
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6. Peter O’Mahony (capt) 9
Ireland were dominated at the breakdown in Brisbane, not so in the second Test here and this man was key to that. His turnover in the 16th minute earned Ireland a penalty which allowed them get into a 13-7 lead. He was at it again in the 34th minute when he took advantage of the isolated Michael Hooper. Another just before the hour mark capped off a fine day’s work and he went off in the 63rd minute.
7. Dan Leavy 6
He was missed during the first Test as Australia dominated the breakdown. Wasn’t at his best here, came off when Healy was in the bin and didn’t appear for the second half either.
8. CJ Stander 6
Ireland’s top tackler with 13, but one of Ireland’s key ball carriers didn’t have the impact he normally does, making just 21 metres from his seven carries
16. Rob Herring 6
Had a good outing in the first Test and came on in the 49th minute with Ireland having an attacking lineout five metres out, his first throw was stolen. Managed to put it behind him a minute later by finding his man and the lineout had no problems thereafter.
17. Jack McGrath 5
Thought he’d scored a try in the 50th minute, but pulled up for a double movement. Sin binned needlessly in the 76th minute for hands in the ruck to force a Nick Phipps knock on, thankfully for him Ireland’s numerical disadvantage didn’t prove fatal.
18. Andrew Porter 5
Came on in the 72nd minute and spoken to after his first scrum by the referee. Once reset there was front row collapse to earn Australia a penalty. His switch from loosehead to tighthead is an extremely hard thing to do, but he’s learning quickly and this will be another lesson to take away.
19. Tadhg Beirne 6
Came on the 64th minute for his international debut in place of Peter O’Mahony. The former Scarlet made little impact.
20. Jordi Murphy 7
A half-time sub for Dan Leavy. Was vastly improved compared to the first Test and won a key 65th minute turnover.
21. John Cooney N/A
Came on too late to make a notable contribution
22. Joey Carbery N/A
Another late arrival, took one restart after Australia’s try which he launched deep. Not much you can do in that time to merit a mark.
23. Jordan Larmour 6
An early sub for the injured Andrew Conway. He showed his gas with a 23rd minute kick chase. There is no doubting his talent when given the ball in space, but that didn’t come.
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