Sport Rugby

Sunday 18 March 2018

Winners and losers of the November series

Rob Kearney on the charge
Rob Kearney on the charge
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Lions disappointment is well and truly in the rear-view mirror for Ireland's full-back (pictured) who overcame his rib problem to give an inspirational display on Sunday. Ireland's most consistent performer over the three weeks.

Good November


Truly a world-class operator, O'Brien's fitness is paramount to Ireland's cause. Increasingly impressive off the field, his domination of Richie McCaw augurs well for the Six Nations and beyond.


Started all three games and grew increasingly confident as the Series went on. His leadership qualities and work ethic are just two elements that the big second-row has developed and if he can cut out the silly errors, he'll be an important part of Schmidt's plans.


The forwards coach has had an immediate impact on his key area as Ireland's lineout returned to its former glory and the maul became a weapon again. The scrum tightened up against New Zealand and if that progress can continue, Plumtree's pack will be feared come the spring.

Bad November


His schedule dominated the agenda early on as he reported for duty "flat", according to Schmidt, while hip and hamstring woes meant he missed the win over Samoa and came off at half-time against Australia. Outstanding for large parts of the game on Sunday, his missed kick will haunt him but his health is paramount for a successful Six Nations.


Came in undercooked and carried his calf injury throughout the three matches. For all the stunning touches against Samoa and the battling qualities on Sunday, his actual impact was minimal. Needs a run of good health and Leinster games to be battle-hardened come the big matches in the spring. If Ireland can add a firing O'Driscoll to what they showed against New Zealand, they should be hard to stop.


He played in all three games of the Series but the Leinster fly-half is firmly behind Paddy Jackson as it presently stands due to his club situation. Needs to shift Jimmy Gopperth and find form and confidence ahead of the Six Nations.


Stop it. Just stop it. All the silliness, the manufactured atmosphere, the heartbeat and 'House of Pain' is utterly unnecessary. Let the people sing.

Irish Independent

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