Thursday 23 May 2019

Oz tour review

Tadhg Furlong of Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile
Tadhg Furlong of Ireland. Photo: Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O’Connor

Player of the series

Somehow Tadhg Furlong (below) leaves Australia with his reputation even further enhanced and, while the Wallabies have an outstanding new contender in Taniela Tupou who wreaked havoc off the bench, the distance between the Campile power-house and the rest is only growing.

Honourable mentions

It's reasonable to argue that Ireland could have swept their hosts if Johnny Sexton had started the first Test, while Conor Murray was excellent as ever. CJ Stander's relentless energy was hard to ignore, while Robbie Henshaw grew into it. Devin Toner was excellent, as was James Ryan.

Opportunity taken

Niall Scannell and Rob Herring go home with their reputations enhanced, while Joey Carbery can be satisfied as he prepares for life in Munster. Jordan Larmour saw lots of action and was superb off the bench in the decider, while Tadhg Beirne also impressed.

Opportunity lost

The expectation coming over was that Sean Cronin would start in Rory Best's absence, but instead he was forced to make do with one bench appearance in Brisbane. He took the blame for the scrum woes near the end and was dropped for the second Test before being named to start in Sydney only to suffer a hamstring tear. Has gone from second to fourth choice.

Wizards of Oz

The social liberal and the bible-basher might be strange bed-fellows, but witnessing David Pocock and Israel Folau play rugby in the flesh is special.

Misquote of the tour

"Fear makes carrots of us all"

One scribe found Rob Kearney's Louth/Clongowes accent too much to deal with when transcribing the full-back's post-match interview in Brisbane, mistaking 'cowards' for 'carrots'.

3 Only CJ Stander, Robbie Henshaw and James Ryan played all 240 minutes of the series.

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