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26th Jun 2018

Australian rugby writer identifies Ireland’s two “peerless” stars after series victory

Patrick McCarry

“Hello from the land of the vanquished!”

Iris rugby supporters, and especially ones from Leinster, are getting more and more used to their side winning and claiming trophies.

Between Leinster and Ireland, our teams have claimed every piece of silverware going and have gained a reputation as world-class operators. It’s amazing how quickly winning becomes a habit but the comments from Georgina Robinson really bring home how far this Ireland team have come under Joe Schmidt:

“That third team Schmidt named [for Sydney], there were so many changes. Garry Ringrose and Dan Leavy were seen as a big loss. Sean Cronin dropped out on the eve of the match.

“All that happened, and that team played like they didn’t miss a beat. That is something to be envied and something to be commended, in my opinion.”

The Sydney Morning Herald rugby writer joined John Cooney, James Downey and host Andy McGeady on The Hard Yards after Ireland clinched the Test Series in Australia. As well as highlighting positives for the Wallabies, Robinson [from 33:00 below] highlighted some of Ireland’s best players Down Under.


Robinson said Schmidt should be pleased with several of his ‘young guns’, like James Ryan and Jordan Larmour, but mentioned some if their main-stays as key in securing the 2-1 series victory. She commented:

“We don’t know Ireland very well here so there were heaps of players that stood out…

“I just couldn’t go on without mentioning that quote from Johnny Sexton, on the field, to Pascal Gauzere – ‘I know you hate me but I’m the captain and you have to talk to me’. That was pretty interesting, the attitude, from the stand-in captain. He certainly left his mark.

“Conor Murray was, again, fantastic. They’re just peerless as half back partners.

“But guys like Tadhg Furlong – he was my man-of-the-match in the Second Test – he is an absolute belter of a prop. Devin Toner, CJ Stander, I just thought their work-rate was incredible. Their aggression was incredible.”

Such is our ‘Ach, sure, it’s grand’ mentality as an Irish nation that we try our best not to get ahead of ourselves. Even Alex Broun’s Sport 360 column claiming Ireland as early 2019 World Cup favourites was whistled and hushed on the show.

However, when leading rugby writers from rival nations start to beat the drum about us, one has to sit up, take notice and simply take the compliment for what it is. We’re a damn good team.

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