Ireland 9-21 New Zealand: Captain Rory Best made sure we kept our heads, says Ringrose
The signs of a physical battle were etched all over young Garry Ringrose's face when he was presented to the media after Ireland's defeat to New Zealand on Saturday but the centre said captain Rory Best was able to keep his cool despite a feeling that key decisions were going against them.
Ringrose's second cap arrived a good deal sooner than he expected when he was called upon 10 minutes into the game after a tackle from Sam Cane ended Robbie Henshaw's outing.
And frustrations grew further when the hosts felt New Zealand's second and third scores should have been chalked off.
Johnny Sexton believed he got his arm underneath the ball when Beauden Barrett attempted to ground it, although had he done so New Zealand would have argued for a penalty try, while Best was turned away when asking why the TMO was not looking at a potential forward pass when Malakia Fekitoa made it a two-score game in the 66th minute.
"He (Best) was trying to get him to go to the TMO but at the end of the day, it's out of our control and the ref made the decision," said Ringrose. "The leadership group do really step up like that and their experience shows.
"I mean you can't change the past once we concede a try so it's all about making our next action positive. The leaders in the group really reiterate that."
Having made his debut against Canada only seven days beforehand, the game was a huge step for the 21-year-old but he didn't look out of place. After ending the contest with a few cuts to his face, he admitted the physicality of New Zealand was to be expected.
"It was a tough, really tough test match," he said. "I suppose I didn't expect to be on as soon as I was, obviously Robbie took a rattling.
""I'm grateful for the opportunity I did get, and to be able to play in as big a game as that."