Joe Schmidt: A huge amount still to play for Down Under

Ireland head coach, Joe Schmidt
Ireland head coach, Joe Schmidt

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt said there was still work to do ahead of a Series decider against Australia next Saturday

A first win since 1979 over the Wallabies in their own back yard was something to celebrate on Saturday, but Schmidt was already thinking ahead.

Ireland levelled the series with a deserved 26-21 victory in Melbourne - a result that somewhat flattered the hosts..

There were tries from Munster wing Andrew Conway and Tadhg Furlong at AAMI Park while Johnny Sexton, returning at fly-half, excelled with the boot to propel Ireland clear.

Australia, who won the first Test 18-9, had Kurtley Beale and Taniela Tupou to thank for scoring but poor discipline cost the Wallabies dearly as Sexton was able to rack up four penalties.

]"All we did was balance the series," acknowledged head coach Schmidt..

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

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

"So, nothing feels monumental when it's one-all. It feels like there's still a huge amount to play for.

"We'll glue ourselves back together, get the trip out of the way to Sydney tomorrow and Monday, have a bit of a look back at the game and then get back out on the training pitch in North Sydney Oval and try to work our way through things.

"There's still a few things that we know we need to do better because we know they're going to keep getting better."

Although a series win is the primary goal, the Ireland head coach is intent on continuing his rotation policy with next year's World Cup in mind after handing a Test debut to Scarlets second-row Tadhg Beirne.

"We definitely want to win the series, but we've probably got 10 games now between this tour and when we go into our warm-up to the World Cup," he said.

"The thing that we want to believe about our squad is that there's less and less between players, and so selection is a contest every time."