Dan Sheridan/INPHO
Match Report

Ireland take their time putting Georgia to the sword

A frustrating first half was followed by Ireland scoring six second half tries.

Ireland 49

Georgia 7

AFTER LAST WEEK’S exciting step into the unknown with a new centre pairing, today’s win over Georgia was a tale of rust and errors that almost brought the positive mood around Irish rugby to a halt.

Fortunately, Ireland again showed a taste for finishing strong, and ran in all six of their tries in the second half of this encounter.

A first half in which Ireland struggled to shake off the rust ended with Joe Schmidt’s side just 9 – 0 ahead. A case of missed chances and, probably, missed opportunities for the 13 names who did not start last week’s seismic opening Test against South Africa.

The scrum was often overpowered and the hosts may have trailed early on had Merab Kvirikashvili not let his penalty drift wide.

There were brief glimpses of Ireland’s exciting back-line in the second quarter of the game. Darren Cave started the half’s most fluid attack; the Ulster centre broke the line outside his own 22 and started a sequence of offloads – to Eoin Reddan, who in turn fed Robbie Diack – before Ireland eventually settled for a second penalty which Madigan slotted to open up a 6 – 0 advantage.

That’s the way it remained until the stroke of half-time. Ireland began passing up kickable chances in favour of the corner, but even a functional maul ended up falling short on three occasions.

Ireland opened the lead up to nine points before the half-time whistle with Georgian scrum-half Giorgi Begadze the man sin-binned as his side reached double figures of penalties conceded.

The green pack went back to the maul again after the restart and, at last, it paid dividends. Captain Eoin Reddan did a fine job of marshaling his pack until they could go no further and after a delayed pass to set up the next ruck, and the Leinster man soon found Dave Kilcoyne, too close to be denied a settling score.

Felix Jones scores a try Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Within 10 minutes, the maul was rolling again, this time Richardt Strauss was able to dive over the short side without the need for extra phases.

Georgia would get on the scoresheet through lock Giorgi Nemsadze, but Madigan kept kicking the goals, and as Ireland’s fresh players flooded off the bench, Georgia began to wilt. The sharp running angles and passing of Stuart Olding in particular proved too much for the defence.

The forward platform paid dividends for Simon Zebo and Felix Jones tries. The backs then began to make their own luck with Jones rounding off a thrilling move started by Ian Keatley and Kieran Marmion and Olding piercing through  hole outside the 22 and impressively finishing off the score for himself.

A win by over 40 points is about where Ireland could have expected to be against a Tier 2 nation, but the time it took to get up to speed will cause Schmidt to pose grave questions.



Tries: D Kilcoyne, R Strauss, S Zebo, F Jones (2), S Olding.

Conversions: I Madigan (5)

Penalties: I Madigan (3)


Try: G Nemsadze

Conversion: M Kvirikashvili

IRELAND: Felix Jones; Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Gordon D’Arcy, Simon Zebo; Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan (capt.); Dave Kilcoyne, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross; Dave Foley, Mike McCarthy; Dominic Ryan, Tommy O’Donnell, Robbie Diack.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Rodney Ah You, Devin Toner, Robin Copeland, Kieran Marmion, Ian Keatley, Stuart Olding.

GEORGIA: Merab Kvirikashvili; Alexander Todua, David Kacharava (capt), Merab Sharikadze, Tamaz Mtchedlidze; Lasha Khmaladze, Giorgi Begadze; Mikheil Nariashvili, Shalva Mamukashvili, Davit Kubriashvili; Kote Mikautadze, Giorgi Nemsadze; Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, Viktor Kolelishvili, Dimitri Basilaia.

Replacements: Simon Maisuradze, Zurab Zhvania, Levan Chilachava, Levan Datunashvili, Giorgi Chkhaidze, Vazha Khutsishvili, Lasha Malaguradze, Muraz Giorgadze.

As it happened: Ireland v Georgia, November Tests

How Ireland rated in the rout of Georgia

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