History could prove otherwise, but November 2016 feels like a decisive month for Irish rugby. It goes deeper than the defeat of New Zealand in Chicago. A new generation stood up. The experiences of Garry Ringrose and Joey Carbery are particularly noteworthy. Huge things have been promised of both players but neither man had been capped by Ireland before this November. Both players have been in scintillating form for Leinster but all the talk in the media in October was about how Joe Schmidt needed to protect Ringrose from the All Blacks. In August, Carbery would have been viewed as the fifth or sixth best outhalf in Ireland. In Leinster's Champions Cup games, Carbery played an important role but Isa Nacewa handled Leinster's kicks.
There would be a time for the likes of Carbery and Ringrose to shine, but it was somewhere down the road. Yet thanks to injuries and unforeseen events, both Ringrose and Carbery were thrust into the spotlight this November. Both stepped up. Schmidt opted to start Ringrose over Stuart Olding and he was not let down. Carbery, meanwhile, can now boast of kicking a conversion against the All Blacks in Soldier Field and playing fullback against Australia.
One of the overriding lessons of the 2015 Rugby World Cup was the need for depth given the attritional nature of the modern game. When Ireland head to Japan in three years, Ringrose and Carbery will both be 24.
This November feels like the making of them. Here's a recap of a month for their whole lives.
November 1: Joey Carbery turns 21
November 3: Carbery and Ringrose named on the Ireland bench for the All Blacks
November 5: Carbery makes his Ireland debut, scores first Ireland points, plays a pivotal role in an iconic Ireland rugby win
November 12: Gary Ringrose starts his first Ireland game against Canada, Carbery gets his second cap off the bench
November 19: Garry Ringrose replaces injured Robbie Henshaw after 11 minutes, plays inside centre
November 24: Ringrose named to start against the Wallabies, Carbery named on the bench
November 26: Ringrose scores his first Ireland try, Carbery plays fullback for Ireland off the bench
Garry Ringrose's try was a first half highlight. Follow the second half action live here: https://t.co/Enb9LCwbej https://t.co/go3LAz33br
— RTÉ Rugby (@RTErugby) November 26, 2016
'I'm gonna say it...' pic.twitter.com/343ypApAtc
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) November 26, 2016