'Nothing monumental' about series equaliser: Schmidt

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Ireland’s win in Melbourne was their first in Australia since 1979, but coach Joe Schmidt played down its history, as the side braces for a series decider in Sydney.

Asked whether he felt the history of breaking that drought, Schmidt said there was nothing overly significant about the win, unless they backed it up next week.

“Probably not (thinking about it) right now, because all we did was balance the series,” he said.

“It all depends on what we can deliver next week and I know the Wallabies will be thinking the same thing.

"The're a really good side and if they do get a bit more access, I know, as you saw towards the end we were chasing shadows.”

“Nothing feels monumental when it's one-all, it feels like there’s still a huge amount to play for.”

Schmidt said there was still a lot for Ireland to improve on as they head to Sydney, despite a 26-21 win in the second Test.

“There's still a few things that we know we need to do better because we know they (Australia) are going to keep getting better,” he said.

“I think it’s really evenly poised and I wouldn’t be keen on favouring either side just because the way the series has gone so far, both games have really been in the balance.”

Ireland managed to keep Israel Folau relatively quiet on Saturday night, particularly when it came to aerial contests, with Schmidt praising the efforts of winger Keith Earls for putting pressure on those areas.

“I think the kicking game last week was probably more accessible for him (Folau),” he said.

“He got opportunities to get up at the ball that he didn’t get tonight.

“Keith Earls did a super job getting up at the ball and Australia kicked less tonight so there weren’t as many opportunities for Israel Folau to get up at it."

The Wallabies have some high-profile injury concerns, but Ireland will also be awaiting news on a host of players.

Winger Andrew Conway came off in the 16th minute, battling a hip concern, while prop Cian Healy had a shoulder injury and flanker Dan Leavy hit his sternum.

Schmidt was relatively positive about their fitness, but said the trio would be assessed later in the week.

The Wallabies host Ireland in the third June Test on Saturday June 23, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.