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Best on both worlds - Rory says Ireland have filled the "void"

Published 26/11/2016

Ireland's captain Rory Best celebrates victory over Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. PA
Ireland's captain Rory Best celebrates victory over Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. PA
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Paddy Jackson of Ireland and CJ Stander of Ireland celebrate as Referee, Jerome Garces awards Ireland a penalty to finish the game during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Ireland's captain Rory Best celebrates with his wife Jodie and son Ben after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's players celebrate their win on the pitch after the rugby union test match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva stadium in Dublin on November 26, 2016. Ireland won the game 27-24. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's Jack McGrath celebrates with teammates after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's captain Rory Best with his family after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's Tadhg Furlong after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's Simon Zebo and Conor Murray celebrate after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's Simon Zebo and Keith Earls celebrate after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's captain Rory Best celebrates with teammates after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's Keith Earls (left) and Conor Murray celebrate after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's captain Rory Best celebrates with teammates after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's players celebrate their win on the pitch after the rugby union test match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva stadium in Dublin on November 26, 2016. Ireland won the game 27-24. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Ireland's Devin Toner celebrates with teammates after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's captain Rory Best celebrates with his wife Jodie, sons Ritchie and Ben after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's captain Rory Best applauds the fans after the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's captain Rory Best (centre) talks to his team-mates during a time out in the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Tevita Kuridrani of Australia celebrates scoreing his side's second try during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Bernard Foley of Australia kicks a conversion to take the lead during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Ireland's Keith Earls scores a try during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Australia's Sefanaia Naivalu gets past Ireland's Conor Murray on his way to scoring a try during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's CJ Stander and Australia's Lopeti Timani (right) during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Fans celebrate after Ireland's Keith Earls scores a try during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's Sean Cronin is tackled by Australia's Reece Hodge during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's Tadhg Furlong is held back by Australia's Israel Folau during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Dane Haylett-Petty of Australia is tackled by Keith Earls of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Referee, Jerome Garces gestures to Rory Best of Ireland during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Ireland's Rory Best and Australia's Bernard Foley (right) compete for the ball during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Dane Haylett-Petty of Australia skips past Jamie Heaslip of Ireland to score his side's first try during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Simon Zebo of Ireland is tackled by Henry Speight of Australia during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Simon Zebo of Ireland is tackled by Henry Speight of Australia during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Dane Haylett-Petty of Australia dives over to score his side's first try during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Dane Haylett-Petty of Australia dives over to score his side's first try during the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Australia's flanker Dean Mumm (R) cannot prevent Ireland's centre Garry Ringrose diving over the line to score Ireland's second try during the rugby union test match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva stadium in Dublin on November 26, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Australia's Michael Hooper is tackled by Ireland's Jared Payne during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire.
General view of the action between Ireland and Australia during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Ireland's Simon Zebo is tackled by Australia's Bernard Foley during the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
Rory Best of Ireland greets former Ireland player Ronan O'Gara prior to the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: A general view of the Australia dressing room prior to the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Bernard Foley of Australia arrives prior to the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
General view of the warm up inside the Aviva Stadium before the Autumn International match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 26, 2016. See PA story RUGBYU Ireland. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 26: Stephen Moore of Australia shakes hands with Rory Best of Ireland prior to the international match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Ireland players (from left) Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Sean Cronin, Rory Best and Conor Murray arrive for the captain's run at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. PA
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Stephen Moore of Australia looks on during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Stephen Moore of Australia speaks to the media following the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Reece Hodge of Australia practices his kicking during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Dane Haylett-Petty of Australia receives a pass during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Henry Speight of Australia practices his kicking during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: David Pocock of Australia claims a high ball during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Bernard Foley of Australia in action during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Bernard Foley of Australia practices his drop kick during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Rory Arnold arrives prior to the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: David Pocock collides with a post as he catches the ball during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Players and coaching staff pose prior to the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Bernard Foley (L) and Stephen Moore look on during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: James Slipper evades team mate Sekope Kepu during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Quade Cooper in action during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Dean Mumm (R) walks onto the pitch with team mates during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 25: Bernard Foley (L) and Stephen Moore look on during the Australia Captain's Run on the eve of their international match against Ireland at Aviva Stadium on November 25, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 24: Sekope Kepu of Australia looks for a pass during an Australia training session at the RDS Arena on November 24, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 24: Will Genia of Australia looks for a pass during an Australia training session at the RDS Arena on November 24, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 24: Rory Arnold of Australia releases a pass during an Australia training session at the RDS Arena on November 24, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 24: Bernard Foley of Australia looks for a pass during an Australia training session at the RDS Arena on November 24, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 24: Michael Hooper of Australia hands off Silatolu Latu of Australia during an Australia training session at the RDS Arena on November 24, 2016 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Rory Best believes Ireland have filled the "void" between the northern and southern hemispheres with their historic autumn Test series.

Ireland became the first European team since England in 2003 to register calendar-year victories over the southern hemisphere's big three with their 27-24 win over Australia on Saturday.

Best toasted his 100th cap with a win for the annals as Ireland added the Wallabies scalp to their June victory over South Africa and the November 5 triumph over New Zealand in Chicago.

"It's a pretty big achievement for us to do that," said Best, of Ireland's southern hemisphere clean sweep in 2016.

"It's a good sign for us with the depth that we're now building.

"After the Rugby World Cup there was all the talk about a big void between the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere.

"We didn't think there was a gap 12 months ago, but now we feel that as a team on our day we can compete with anyone.

"To get a result today is very important for us."

Ireland ended the 2015 World Cup feeling they had blown their best-ever chance to reach a maiden semi-final with a frustrating last-eight loss to Argentina.

Hosts England flopped spectacularly and New Zealand collected the William Webb Ellis Cup for the second time in a row.

All four semi-finalists hailed from the southern hemisphere, prompting much soul-searching in Europe.

Ireland's first win over the All Blacks, the 40-29 win at Soldier Field earlier this month, has helped elevate Schmidt's men to new heights however.

And now Best hopes the side can carry that confidence forward.

"We've simply got to keep improving," said Best.

"We know that that's the big challenge, because you look at how Scotland have come along and how England are going now - we'll have to be better in the Six Nations, there's no doubt about that."

Best became Ireland's fifth centurion at the Aviva Stadium, joining Brian O'Driscoll, Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara and John Hayes in the exclusive set.

The 34-year-old produced another stirring performance, as Iain Henderson, Garry Ringrose and Keith Earls claimed the vital tries.

Ireland entered the clash without Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw and late withdrawal Sean O'Brien, then lost Rob Kearney, Andrew Trimble and Jared Payne in a bruising encounter.

The hosts wound up with replacement scrum-half Kieran Marmion on the wing, but still managed to fend off Michael Cheika's resurgent Wallabies.

Best admitted he was delighted to end an emotional week with a vital victory.

"There's something special in these last 12 months: we've worked really hard on guys being thrown into difficult situations," said Best.

"The way the week has gone and with the disappointment of last week, we talked about losing those guys early in the week, then losing Sean so late, you just hope the squad steps up.

"It was obviously a very emotional day for me, because they're such a great bunch of guys to captain.

"It's obviously very special and very emotional to get to this stage.

"To do it and do it at home at the Aviva Stadium is incredibly special.

"This week it's shown me why Ireland rugby is such a great place to be around."

Australia left Dublin furious with botching several gilt-edged chances for victory, while also carrying rancour over referee Jerome Garces' performance.

The Wallabies will move forward to face England at Twickenham on December 3 desperate to get back to winning ways - but Australia captain Stephen Moore was intent on offering his respect to Ireland counterpart Best before jetting on to London.

"It's important with everything else that went on in the game to mark what's a great achievement for him personally," said Moore of Best.

"It's full credit to him for all the hard work he's put in over his career, and he deserved that tonight."

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