Following on from Ireland’s team announcement for the first test against Australia, there was a great deal of chatter regarding the strength of the replacements in green.

With Joe Schmidt making half a dozen changes from the side that defeated England to claim the grand slam back in March, Tadhg Furlong, Jonny Sexton and Cian Healy began with unfamiliar numbers on the back of their jerseys.

Optimistic Irish fans felt that should the men in green remain in the mix in the final quarter, the cavalry would come on and see the game out at the Suncorp Stadium.

The visitors did indeed lead 9-8 with 20 minutes remaining, but while the Irish bench didn’t have the impact as hoped – Sexton in particular was a little off colour – it was the Wallabies who gleaned more from their replacements.

Tom Robertson, Tolu Latu and Taniela Tupou came into the front row to good effect, while Lukhan Tui and scrum-half Nick Phipps also brought a further energy to Michael Cheika’s team as they prevailed 18-9 in Brisbane.

The impact of the replacements was not lost on any of the starting XV.

"They were awesome. They were a big part of why we won and closed off the game and finished really well," number eight Caleb Timu told RTÉ Sport.

"We were really glad with how they performed last week."

The 24-year-old gathers less headlines than fellow backrowers Michael Hooper and David Pocock, but his powerful running at the back of the scrum is a key part in Cheika’s gameplan.

"We will have to bring an edge, improve and raise the bar"

The former rugby league player was happy with how they stuck to their guns throughout the contest last week.

"A big theme was ‘win the next moment’. That kept us focused, we weren’t worried about the result, only about what we could control," he said.

"They were very physical. I thought they were really good. We will have to bring an edge, improve and raise the bar."

Prop Tom Roberston entered the fray just after the hour mark for Scott Sio and said the effort shown to keep Ireland scoreless was most pleasing.

"It was obviously pretty good not to let them get any tries. They were pretty close on a couple of time, but we fixed up a few things with our defence so that those line breaks didn’t occur."

Similar to the Wallabies’ November tour, Roberston is acutely aware of how draining the series can be for the Irish players coming at the end of the club season, but says the quality coming off the bench shows why they are ranked second in the world.

"I’m definitely expecting Ireland to finish strong in the upcoming games"

"They are coming off the back of a long season, but at the same time, they are playing for their country and have a few British and Irish Lions players coming off the bench. I wouldn’t say they were slow at the back end of the game.

"There is things they will want to improve on, but when you have guys like Furlong, Healy and Johnny Sexton coming off the bench, they are pretty good players.

"We’ll see what their team is this week, but I’m definitely expecting them to finish strong in the upcoming games."

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