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Herring insists there is more to come from Ireland after dispatching Australia

Ireland clinched a first series win over one of the southern hemisphere’s traditional big three since 1979.

Ireland hooker Rob Herring believes the best is yet to come from Joe Schmidt’s side as they toast their series win over Australia in Sydney.

A 20-16 victory at Allianz Stadium brought the curtain down on Ireland’s most successful season as they added a first series win over one of the southern hemisphere’s traditional big three since 1979 to their Grand Slam success.

With captain Rory Best out of the tour with injury, his Ulster team-mate Herring was one of the relatively unheralded players who received an opportunity on this tour, starting the first Test and coming off the bench in games two and three.

Despite fielding three very different teams for each of the games in a compelling series, Ireland managed to come from 1-0 down to win in Melbourne and Sydney and clinch the Lansdowne Trophy.

With the 2019 World Cup in Japan looming large over next season, Herring is excited about what the team can achieve.

“The last year has been massive for us,” he said. “We know that as a squad we still have more to give. We have another tough autumn internationals coming up and then the Six Nations, leading into a World Cup.

“These next 18 months are going to be massive to keep building on.

“Being out there on the pitch after the game, the support we’ve had throughout this tour has been phenomenal and we were out there, clapping on the crowd… jeez, it’s just those memories that will live forever.

“Hopefully, there is more to come and it’s a massive 18 months coming up for us. We’ll keep building to the World Cup.”

Ireland survived some nervous moments in Saturday’s game, but Herring believes the confidence they’ve built through their successful campaign stood them in good stead in the end-game.

“There’s a lot of belief in the squad and we’ve shown throughout the last year that we can come back and hold out in those big moments,” he said.

“I think that’s the kind of belief you need to keep building on going into a World Cup.

“We’re quite a tight group and from these three and a half weeks we’ve been on tour, that sense of being tight-knit has grown considerably.

“Ultimately, we want to play for Ireland and play for each other on the pitch. That showed in the last few Tests and when we put our minds to it, we can be pretty good.”

Although bitterly disappointed to lose out on the series, Wallabies number eight David Pocock praised the Irish effort.

“It is an incredibly disappointing loss,” he said. “The finishers came on and lifted the energy. It was a huge amount of effort and it is incredibly disappointing. Credit to Ireland through the series, they have been tough.

“Their game-management has been really good, you don’t become number two in the world for nothing, it finishes a really good year for them.

“Each game has been tough. They’re a good opposition, it’s been a real arm wrestle and it’s not how we wanted it to finish.

“Certainly in that last 20 we were backing ourselves to finish strong, finish well and didn’t quite get there.”

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