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schmidt makes it cean sweep

It was more than a gut feeling. It always is with Joe Schmidt.

The Ireland coach suffered through the pain barrier to have his appendix removed at St Vincent's Hospital on Saturday night.

As the Ireland media communications officer Dave O'Siochain said, he "manned-up" and moved on for further tests at a hospital on Saturday evening.

It would be fair to say his team played it his way.

They manned-up and moved on to make it three-from three in November for the first time since 2006.

And there will be further tests ahead for them.

The Six Nations is just around the corner. The 2015 World Cup sits there like some sort of horror story waiting to unfold. Maybe not this time.

There was expectation heaped on expectation in the mild air around The Aviva Stadium by teat-time on Saturday.

Captain Paul O'Connell has been down this road and he sounded out a note of caution.

"We've been here before in Autumn and it didn't serve us well. That is the main lesson you learn."

SCALPS

Perhaps, it is best to deal in the here and now. Ireland have won nine out of ten in 2014, taking two southern hemisphere scalps in the process.

"Obviously a lot of good things have happened for us," reviewed Defence Coach Les Kiss.

"I think the way we will truly reflect upon it we'll be saying 'the reason we're in the position that we are at the moment is because we did take each day at a time.

"We did take each training session at a time and, not sounding like a broken record, but each test match at a time, and take the 'learnings' from each one."

"We won't be getting too far ahead of ourselves. That's for sure."

Australia's brilliance in feasting on turnover ball, transitioning from defence into attack in the blink-of-an-eye made it an enthralling contest as Ireland stuck to a more conservative ball-in-the-air approach.

It didn't look anything like a classic brewing as Jonathan Sexton's angled kick put Simon Zebo beyond the reach of Nick Phipps and Tommy Bowe stepped into an intercept for Sexton's conversions and penalty to make it 17-nil.

This brought confidence which spilled into over-exuberance. Zebo's offload for Sexton in traffic was picked off by Bernard Foley for Phipps to turn into seven points.

It would have maddened the Irish management to see a high-risk ball turn into the start of a 20-point rebound from Australia.

"We will back our players to play what they see. It is sometimes those things happen," said defence coach Les Kiss.

"Despite the fact it did go a bit loose and offered them accesses to the game that they do love, we still could have made the tackles that mattered in that moment.

"Certainly we are not about being frivolous with the ball, but we also back our players to play if they see the opportunities."

progress

For all of that, Zebo is making significant progress. His chasing of restarts was exemplary and his physicality was right there.

He just has to temper the natural flair to put it up to Andrew Trimble and Dave Kearney.

The to-and-fro between green and gold and the high-speed chase for possession that ensued stretched all the way to the wire. The endgame was a reflection of how far Ireland have come in a year.

Where they soaked tackles and slid into the record books with another maddening defeat to New Zealand in 2013, they hammered onto the front-foot to repel The Wallabies this time.

In so many ways, they are on the front-foot, moving forward. They have learned how to close out the tight ones.

"That's probably something we didn't do against New Zealand, something we didn't do against France, albeit Dave Kearney probably pressured (Pascal) Pape into that pass," said O'Connell.

"If teams are chasing points and having to put the ball through their hands and you can get off your line and put on pressure you've a far better chance of holding them out.

"I think that's something we did really well. It was great not to give them an out.

"You know that's very satisfying. But there is a lot more in us."

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