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Here's how we rated Ireland in the heart-stopping November finale against Australia

All hands were called to the pump.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRELAND’S FOURTH AND final November Test ended with a nail-biting win over Australia at the Aviva Stadium tonight. Click for the full-time match report and below find how we rated Joe Schmidt’s side on a very tough night..

Joey Carbery: 6

The boy is good, there is absolutely no doubt about that. The Leinster tyro threatened great things when he was called into a reshuffled back-line in the first-half. Australia got some joy when they targeted him after the restart, but Carbery comes away with more credit in the bank after some classy touches and a fine take on a late high ball.

Simon Zebo: 8

Called in to replace Rob Kearney after another concussion early on and added a nice new dimension to the attack with his passing. The grubber for the opening try was inspired, as was his second half shot out of the line to tackle a Wallaby on the try-line, but there were a number of errors in amongst those flashes of brilliance that didn’t help alleviate the pressure Ireland came under the third quarter.

Jared Payne: 6

Added a very assured touch to everything he did in midfield with some solid tackles on top of his fine passing and handling. His half-time departure threatened to unravel a hard-earned lead.

Jared Payne on the attack Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Garry Ringrose: 8

Any concern about his ability at this level was without the ball, but as Ireland starved the Wallabies of possession in the first-half he thrived in knitting back-line moves together and darting through gaps like the one he found for his first international try.

Without the ball in the second half he looked the part too, making some good defensive reads and even forcing a choke tackle when he locked his arms around Tevita Kuridrani.

Keith Earls: 8

Got just rewards for a solid all-round performance in three different positions with his second half try. Set up the opening try with a well-timed pass out of contact and made nine good tackles in wide channels to help thwart the Wallabies when the smelled blood on the flanks.

Paddy Jackson: 8

Struck his goal-kicks very sweetly indeed, crucially ending the game with a 100% success rate. Generally managed the game well, but kick out on the full to set up the Wallaby try on half-time was horrific – and not his only poor decision.

Conor Murray: 9

Suffered one brainfart when picking out a static David Pocock with a pass, but otherwise it was another accomplished display from Murray. With Sexton in and out of the treatment room, he is the integral half-back in this team.

Dean Mumm tackles Tadhg Furlong Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

Jack McGrath: 7

Much quieter than usual in open play at the end of an extremely tough month, but continued to give Ireland plenty of heft at the breakdown and helped ensure a solid scrum.

Rory Best: 9

Captain fantastic, yet again. The Centurion took a rapturous round of applause as he departed the field knowing the game was (almost) won. Needed every ounce of his captaincy skills to steady the ship after the rocky third quarter, but Ireland excelled to close the game out.

Tadhg Furlong: 8

The Wexford man is growing with every outing in green. Helped give Ireland a strong scrum while he was on and always makes a muscular impact around the ball in attack and defence.

Iain Henderson: 7

Showed off his pace from a standing start to get Ireland in for the opening try and contributed seven good carries to keep his side on the front foot first half. The battle between him, Ultan Dillane and Donnacha Ryan for that number four jersey is going to be intense for some time to come.

Devin Toner: 8

Another excellent showing at the line-out and maul. Did not impose his physicality in open play as much in a much faster-paced match this week, but a totemic figure in the Irish pack.

Israel Folau is tackled by CJ Stander Source: Colm O'Neill/INPHO

CJ Stander: 8

 

He was missed last week, that’s for sure. Stander delivered another Trojan effort with the ball in hand, making 17 big carries in heavy traffic for his team. His uber-manly stare-down of Pocock after winning a late penalty is an iconic moment for the show-reeel.

Josh van der Flier: 9

Called into the fray late yet again, but as usual, put himself at the top of the Irish tackle charts with 12 for the cause while adding nine carries for good measure. Up against not one, but two of the best opensides in the game, he came out shining with a man of the match award. He just keeps passing every test with flying colours.

Jamie Heaslip: 7

Never reached the heroic levels of last weekend, but put in more than decent shift for 60 minutes before he was unusually hooked off with a full quarter to go.

Kieran Marmion: 6

Forced to play 40 minutes way out of position with Ireland’s best defensive back lost to injury. Australia targeted him in the third quarter, but to his credit, he gelled with the defence the longer they got on the field together as a unit. And he made an important try-saving tackle on David Pocock that forced a forward pass to Henry Speight.

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Ireland end brilliant November series with nerve-wracking win over Wallabies

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