5 things we learned
Bundee can be a success
With his fine debut over, the exciting Bundee Aki will hope his Ireland project player Test career can be a long-term success. There is no guarantee given the mixed fortunes of his seven overseas predecessors – Strauss 8 starts, Ah You 0 (only capped as sub), Diack 2, Payne 20, White 4, Stander 16 and Roux 3.
O’Brien has been missed
Show-and-go Sean O’Brien hit a job milestone, earning his 50th Ireland cap, but the deserved honour for one of the country’s most dynamic forwards served to highlight how injury-affected his international career had been. The 30-year-old was first capped eight years ago against Fiji at the RDS.
Herring is a quality option
A penny for the thoughts of demoted hooker Sean Cronin. Rob Herring, the South African who qualified for Ireland through grandparentage, hadn’t got a look-in since his bizarre fleeting debut three and a half years ago in Tucuman, but he bridged that enormous gap with his try-scoring effort off the bench.
Refs showing eye for detail
New Zealand referee Ben O’Keeffe previously worked as an eye specialist in a Wellington hospital and his vision was generally spot on policing a match that produced 21 penalties and required hard and fast rulings at the scrum and in the collisions. His commanding style was easy on the eye.
Genders not so divided
The IRFU’s governance of the women’s game has taken a recent bashing but a match programme advert yesterday highlighted how yogurt makers Glenisk is playing its part in promotion. The cover of its new trading card collectors’ album features five women in among 11 of Joe Schmidt’s men.