Ireland have won their first test series in Australia for almost 40 years after beating the Wallabies 20-16 in a dramatic contest at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
After a try-less first half, CJ Stander scored for the tourists four minutes after the interval, with Johnny Sexton kicking six penalties throughout the game to ensure the Irish victory.
However, after Marika Koroibete converted a kick through from Michael Foley to score, the hosts seemed to gain much of the momentum as they dominated the possession and territory in the second half.
But despite the relentless pressure, the Wallabies couldn’t add to their score and Ireland held on to win a tour in Australia for the first time since 1979.
Like for much of the series, ill-discipline and conceding unnecessary penalties cost them dearly but the rate of defensive work from Joe Schmidt’s side helped ensure their deserved victory.
The Irish win the three-match series 2-1, having turned the opening game defeat in Brisbane around to beat the Wallabies in back-to-back triumphs in Melbourne and Sydney.
Here is how I rated the Ireland players…
Rob Kearney - 5
Was defensively poor today, he failed to make a successful tackle and couldn’t stop Koroibete for his try. Made a couple of decent runs but didn’t get going today, a shame after a good performance in Melbourne.
Keith Earls - 5.5
Didn’t do a lot wrong, but was hardly involved in the game. Made some important tackles late in the game but was largely absent going forward.
Robbie Henshaw - 6
Carried so well at 13 and broke through on a few occasions. He was a bit off in defence though, three missed tackles isn’t usual for the Leinster man.
Bundee Aki - 8.5
Stood out for his tackles and line breaks in midfield. Made a brilliant turnover after chasing a kick off in the second half and almost broke free on several occasions. Great work rate and one of, if not the most physical player on the pitch.
Jacob Stockdale - 5
An exciting talent with ball in hand going forward, but seemed a liability in defence. His positioning and technique was questionable and was lucky Folau couldn’t hold on to a pass in the corner and he was caught out rushing from the line late in the match. Would have had a higher rating if he hadn’t received a yellow card in the first half, as he ran the most metres of any Irish player.
Johnny Sexton - 6
Solid from Sexton. Almost perfect with the boot from the tee with just a missed conversion. Looked to be tiring in the second half with a few errors in his passing and tackling, he didn’t ship the ball wide at times in the Australian 22 but slotted a late penalty to ensure the Irish victory.
Conor Murray - 6
Controlled the pace well when Ireland had the ball and was very physical in some of his tackles. Some of his decision making was off at times, but he was the main source of creativity when Ireland got going.
Jack McGrath - 6
Seemed to struggle at times with the strength of the Australian scrum, but held his nerve and remained solid. Worked very well around the park in his defensive work.
Niall Scannell - 5.5
Gave away a few penalties throughout but made some decent carries. The lineout was poor at times, but a solid throw early in the second half instigated the Irish try.
Tadhg Furlong - 8
Like in the second test, Furlong made some ferocious carries, his workrate around the park is superb for his size and was so physical in the clear outs and at the breakdown. Another great performance.
James Ryan - 7.5
His defensive rate of getting around the park is brilliant and made the second most tackles of any Irish player.
Devin Toner - 6
We didn’t see as many carries as we are used to from the big second-row and he wasn’t effective at the breakdown. But he is such a key man in the air and worked hard for the victory.
CJ Stander - 9
Stand-out player on the pitch for the men in green, the carries he made always seemed to make metres and was so vocal in the maul. His defensive work-rate, like most of the Irish players, was outstadning and thoroughly deserved his try.
Peter O'Mahony - 6.5
Unlucky to go off injured so early in the game after picking up where he left off from Melbourne after picking up a turnover within the first couple of minutes.
Jack Conan - 7.5
Made the most tackles of any player with 20 and carried very well.
Replacements - 7
Jordi Murphy played very well when he came on for O’Mahony in the first half and worked so hard for the team. Jordan Larmour looked very effective when he came on going forward, and was so composed taking a high kick late on. Cian Healy and Rob Herring struggled to match the scrumming work of the Australian replacement front rows, but overall the subs were solid and worked hard to help Ireland over the line.