Ireland will be disappointed to miss out on a series win, but have blooded a number of young players.
Not too long ago, Ireland’s 19-13 defeat at the hands of South Africa would have been regarded as a moral victory. The performance would have been praised, but not analysed in any great detail.
Therefore, the disappointment felt by fans at full time whistle is an indication of how far Irish rugby has traveled in the last 20 years.
Nevertheless, having never won a test series in the southern hemisphere, Ireland were provided with a unique opportunity against the Sprinboks.
Consequently, while Shane Horgan rightly pointed out that Ireland ‘missed a trick’ against South Africa, it must be remembered that this was an Irish side missing some of it’s key players.
Injuries to Johnny Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, and Jared Payne, robbed Joe Schmidt of three key backs. Likewise, Ireland continue to be without Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, the Kearney brothers and Luke Fitzgerald, while Tommy O’Donnell and Stuart McCloskey were left at home for seperate reasons.
Yet in their place, the likes of Tadhg Furlong, Paddy Jackson and Luke Marshall all put their hands up for international selection. Even with their limited time on the field, Matt Healy, Tiernan O’Halloran and Ultan Dillane each benefited from further exposure to international rugby.
Consequently, the Irish side that takes the field in November could be quite different from the one that completed the Six Nations.
Possible Irish team for November Internationals.
1. Jack McGrath
2. Rory Best
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Iain Henderson
5. Devin Toner
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Sean O’Brien
8. CJ Stander
9. Conor Murray
10. Johnny Sexton
11. Andrew Trimble
12. Stuart McCloskey
13. Robbie Henshaw
14. Matt Healy
15. Jared Payne
Read More About: Ireland, jared payne, Joe Schmidt, Johnny Sexton, Luke Fitzgerald, luke marshall, matt healy, Paddy Jackson, peter o'mahony, robbie henshaw, sean o'brien, south africa, stuart mccloskey, tadhg furlong, Tiernan O'Halloran, tommy o'donnell, Ultan Dillane