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Ireland 27 - 24 Australia: They ran out of players but not spirit - Five talking points from Ireland's big win over Australia

By David Kelly

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)

Ireland beat Australia 27-24 in a cracker at the Aviva Stadium this evening. Here are five talking points from what was a compelling encounter.

Ireland run out of players but not spirit

By the first minute of the second-half, Ireland had literally run out of players - back-line players at least, which is the worst possible combination against a sweet and slick Australian back-line.

Full report: Ireland 27 - 24 Australia: Rory Best celebrates Australia win in 100th Test appearance

They scored 24 points in eleven minutes either side of the break during those famed “championship moments” and the damage could have been much worse but Ireland, somehow, bravely clung on and avoided slipping into an abyss.

In many ways, this was an extraordinary win that ranks up there with the Chicago coup and last summer’s win in South Africa.

The three-quarters which played for Ireland in the second-half arrived as virtual strangers.. Even Joe Schmidt, who legend would submit even controls what TV programmes the players watch on Irish duty, would not have ran a back-line featuring Marmion on the wing and Carbery at full-back.

So there was no shame in Ireland’s mini-implosion; simply the affirmation that Ireland remain some distance away from being three deep in every position, even if the attrition rate this week has been unusually high.

But the bench impact from the forwards was vital; Peter O’Mahony, Cian Healy and Ultan Dillane were pivotal in the build-up to the Keith Earls try which hauled Ireland back into the game in the final quarter.

Australia rested 11 players for a trip to France last week - and still managed to win. Ireland don’t boast such riches - yet. But yesterday demonstrated that they can still thrive when they are missing some of their best players.

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)
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
CJ Stander was one of Ireland's outstanding performers
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 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 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

The next three years will help that crusade as they plot towards ensuring another World Cup is not undermined by a lack of strength in depth.

Mumm’s the word on head fears

World Rugby’s latest moral crusade - caused directly by their moral weakness, as usual - in legislating coherently and consistently on the issue of high tackles was utterly undermined in the fall-out of last week’s Test.

There were plenty of anguished cries from the audience when Dean Mumm lifted Tadhg Furlong’s legs and guided his body over the horizontal into the turf during an attempted clear-out.

Despite the result of the offence - the big Wexford man landing in a heap and to his credit not feigning any fake injury - referee Jerome Garces sought the wise counsel of Nigel Owens, the late inclusion as tough judge.

Calmly, they explained that the incident was low enough to the ground and without enough force to warrant any further punishment than that of a penalty.

If officials on the field are allowed to officiate, this sport may yet have a chance to regulate itself.

Ringrose with first of many

“Garry Ringrose with the try for Ireland.” As the match commentators of various hues and medium uttered this phrase in the 34th minute, one sensed it would not be the last time.

There will be many more in this young man’s career; as many as the great Brian O’Driscoll, who scored 46 in his irrepressible reign in green?

Perhaps not but any flattering imitations to the great man were fleeting when he danced through an Australian defence staging its impromptu version of the Mannequin challenge.

There were shades of that seminal O’Driscoll try in Paris on that famous hat-trick afternoon at the start of this century, when the centre scooped the pill from the floor as if it were an empty crisp packet before dashing to the try-line, inside to outside, low to the floor, with a hip-swinging swagger.

Concussion fears

Disquiet was expressed in the during the build up at the fact that, despite enduring return to play protocols for concussion or concussive symptoms, it did not feel right that Ireland should play both CJ Stander and Rob Kearney.

Those fears were heightened when Kearney received a heavy blow in the first quarter which, until he was eventually persuaded to leave the field at the third attempt, forced him for yet more Head Injury Assessment.

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 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
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 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
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)
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

Rugby as a sport claims a duty to player welfare that is much-trumpeted but we have long argued that the protocols that allow a player to return within seven days are simply not fit for purpose.

The risk of repeat concussions are obvious so why take it?

Ireland’s kicking game

Ireland’s kicking game was awry and Paddy Jackson’s errant boot into touch cost his side the seven-pointer before the break; his attempt to find space from a counter-attack was a valid choice but it was executed so poorly.

He wasn’t alone as Conor Murray tossed in a couple of poor box-kicks while Keith Earls also kicked ball down the throat of Israel Folau.

Ironically, the riskiest kick was the one that produced a moment of magic; Zebo’s brilliant kick that ended up with Iain Henderson scoring Ireland’s opening try.

Ireland’s restarts also need ongoing surgery; they don’t necessarily need to become prescriptive but at times it seems there is a lack of purpose.

Even in the second-half, Ireland kicked with panic off turnover ball.

Irish Independent

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