Nothing left in Irish tank after historic win

by Sam Phillips

There is very little left in the Irish tank but coach Joe Schmidt has applauded his side's herculean defensive effort which clinched an historic series win in Sydney.

The tourists repelled wave after wave of desperate Wallabies attack at the death, an effort which proved the eventual difference in a sublime June series.

The second half was Test rugby at its very best and Schmidt admitted it was a tough watch from the coaches box.

"They just kept coming - wave after wave - I thought they were super in that second half and I thought it was a super effort from our guys just to hang in there and keep them out," Schmidt said.

"The speed they ran onto the ball made it hard to keep them off our advantage line so once they started to get that momentum it was even harder to contain.

"It's a credit to our guys for hanging in there and it's a credit to the Wallabies - I thought they did a fantastic job of carrying really well."

The stout defensive effort retained the Lansdowne Trophy - a fitting end to Ireland's record breaking year.

"To be in their backyard and to sneak off with the Lansdowne Trophy is a little bit special for us - especially on the back of a pretty long season," Schmidt said.

"I think it's a credit to the players that they dug in just well enough.

"They deserve a break."

Schmidt also applauded the Wallabies, admitting there were fine margins in a series which finished with a 55-55 aggregate scoreline.

"I think they've got fuel in the tank and I think they're building," he said.

"I'm sure Cheik is pretty happy with some of what they're doing - particularly in the second half.

"It's been a fantastic series."

A well deserved break awaits the Irish, with a November 18 Test against the All Blacks the next mountain they must climb.

"I'm also looking forward to getting a bit of breathing space myself," Schmidt said.

"It's always a slightly different group so you're not quite in the same rhythm.

"I suppose for me, personally, the All Blacks is a little bit special because my mum is such a big fan of the All Blacks."