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5 Ireland Players Who Stood Out In The November Series

5 Ireland Players Who Stood Out In The November Series
By Michael Bolton Updated
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Ireland completed their November series last night with a hard fought 13-10 victory over Australia to complete a successful 2022. With wins over South Africa and Fiji, it was particularly pleasing to see Ireland grind out a scrappy victory when they weren’t at their best.

For several players in this squad, this was the last opportunity to lay down a marker to Andy Farrell before the Six Nations, and less than ten games before Ireland’s World Cup campaign gets underway in France. This November series saw players possibly change Andy Farrell’s mind when it comes to future squads and give him a welcome selection headaches.

Here is five players who stood out for Ireland this November.

Jack Crowley

What an incredible few weeks it has been for the Munster and Ireland fly-half. Crowley started the season as Munster’s third choice fly-half, with international ambitions not on the radar. However, an impressive Emerging Ireland tour, followed by some top performances for Munster, saw him included in the Ireland ‘A’ squad against New Zealand.

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An injury to Ciarán Frawley saw him make his international debut against Fiji, and he made his first start against Australia as a last minute replacement for Johnny Sexton. Under difficult circumstances, Crowley took his opportunities when presented, and has firmly put himself in Farrell’s pans for the future.

If his form continues for Munster, he could be the second choice fly-half for the Six Nations.

Jimmy O’Brien

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Like Crowley, Jimmy O’Brien thrived when he was put in the deep end unexpectedly. After making his international debut against South Africa at centre, the 25-year-old showed his versatility by playing in three different positions across the November series. His versatility will work for in his favour for further squads, particularly for the World Cup if he keeps up his good form with Leinster.

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12 November 2022; Jimmy O'Brien of Ireland during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and Fiji at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Stuart McCloskey

For the first time in his international career, Stuart McCloskey got a deserved run in the side. The Ulster centre has been one of Ireland’s most consistent players over recent seasons, and was finally rewarded this November. After coming off injured against South Africa, McCloskey rallied to firmly remind people of his qualities.

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19 November 2022; Stuart McCloskey of Ireland during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by John Dickson/Sportsfile

While he may have wished to show more offensively, his defensive displays in all three games were very impressive. The return of Bundee Aki last night showed how competitive places are, particularly at centre, so he will need to maintain this level of performance.

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James Ryan

The Leinster second row showed he his back to his best with top performances against South Africa and Australia. Due to injuries and a dip in form in the last 18 months, there was questions raised about Rya. However, he answered them with flying colours, constantly causing problems for the opposition at the line out and breakdown.

A welcome sight not only for Leinster and Ireland, but for James Ryan himself.

19 November 2022; James Ryan of Ireland is tackled by Jed Holloway of Australia during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Josh Van Der Flier

The Ireland flanker somehow keeps getting better and better each game. This year has seen Van Der Flier become one of the best players in the world with his performances. Known for his non-stop tackling for 80 minutes and his work at the breakdown, Van Der Flier has brought ball carrying into his game to bring himself to another level on the pitch. His clever try against South Africa showed how far he has come in the last 18 months.

If his form continues, Ireland will surely be successful in France next year.

SEE ALSO: Ireland Player Ratings After Ireland Survive Australia Armwrestle 

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