USA head coach Gary Gold has described Ireland as one of the greatest teams he’s ever seen.
Joe Schmidt changed the entire starting XV – bar Garry Ringrose – after last week’s memorable win against the All Blacks but still saw his men run out 57-14 winners against a team chasing their tenth Test win on the bounce.
South African Gold, who has been involved with London Irish, Bath and Worcester Warrriors in a lengthy career, had nothing but praise for his opponents afterwards, and offered a glowing appraisal of the state of the game here.
"Ireland are as good as I've ever seen, keeping in mind of course that this was a pretty changed Irish line-up.
"The strength in depth in Irish rugby at the moment is ridiculously healthy. For Joe to rest 14 starters from last weekend, and have guys who hadn’t really played in them combinations, is a massive credit to, not only Joe’s coaching staff, but the healthy state of rugby in Ireland today.
"The four provinces are very healthy and the academies are good. You actually sit back and you admire it.
"It's good to see, it's good for the game. They’re certainly one of the favourites for the World Cup."
Gold gave a reasonably positive update on Joe Taufete’e, who lay motionless on the turf after a second-half collision with Iain Henderson’s leg, requiring oxygen and several minutes of treatment before leaving the field on a stretcher.
The Worcester hooker did give a thumbs-up to the crowd as he was carried off and Gold added: "My phone is ringing now and it actually is the hospital. We’ll find out soon enough. He was knocked out and taken in as a precaution. We’re hoping he’s going to be okay."
The Eagles gave as good as they got in the first half before fading on the turnaround.
It’s been a hugely positive 2018 for the team, and Gold was keen to take the positives from a loss against "the best team in the world".
"I’m excited about the challenge, I’m excited about the learning curve. We’d half a dozen guys there who are 21 and younger. It bodes well for us to build this group going forward.
"We’re very grateful that we are starting to get these kind of games against quality opposition. It will do us a huge amount of good."