The Leinster man played his part in one of the year's best Tests, and certainly the pick of the autumn fixtures, as Ireland were seconds away from securing their first-ever win against New Zealand. Cian Healy produced an unforgiving first-half performance as the Irish pack dominated the All Blacks to secure an early 19-0 lead before the world champions responded, in typically zealous fashion. Healy, who was an early injury casualty in the triumphant British and Irish Lions tour in Australia this summer, proved a real nuisance at the breakdown and carried well in the Aviva clash.
Sean O'Brien was another member of the Lions squad this summer but the Leinster flanker played a limited role against the Wallabies. The Leinster man was a key part of an outstanding back row performance alongside Jamie Heaslip and Peter O'Mahony in that memorable New Zealand clash. The 24-year-old held his own against All Blacks captain Richie McCaw which helped Ireland get the upper-hand in the contest. He played a big part in Rory Best's opening try, too.
In what is a reoccurring forwards theme, O'Mahony was another standout performer in the 24-22 loss to the All Blacks. However, the Munster skipper particularly shone in the 40-9 win against Samoa. The 24-year-old was a real force at the breakdown and notched a try from a rolling maul to help Joe Schmidt kick-start his reign as Ireland head coach in style in front of a muted Aviva Stadium.
- Sports & Recreation
- Cian Healy
- All Blacks