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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019


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It’s a dull aul’ day of fixtures at Euro 2016, thank goodness there’s rugby back on our screens.

Nigel Carolan’s Wolfpuppies must beat Georgia to guarantee top place in Pool A after impressive comeback wins over New Zealand and wins. Hopefully, they can go wire to wire through the 80 minutes today.

Get in touch and tell us who you’re most looking forward to seeing in the 17.30 kick-off  or any other thoughts on the game. Comment below, tweet us @Rugby_ie or pop in and say hello on Facebook.

Here’s how the teams will line out, Ireland have made a late change by withdrawing captain fantastic James Ryan from the replacements bench as a precaution. Cillian Gallagher will pull on the number 19 jersey instead.

Ireland u20

15. Brett Connon (Newcastle Falcons)
14. Terry Kennedy (St.Mary’s / Leinster)
13. Jimmy O’Brien (UCD / Leinster)
12. Paul Kiernan (UCC / Munster) Capt
11. Hugo Keenan (UCD / Leinster)
10. Johnny McPhillips (Queen’s University / Ulster)
9. Niall Saunders (Harlequins)

1. James Bollard (Dublin University / Leinster)
2. Vincent O’Brien (Cork Con / Munster)
3. Vakh Abdaladze (Clontarf / Leinster)
4. Evan Mintern (Cork Con / Munster)*
5. Sean O’Connor (Cashel / Munster)
6. Greg Jones (UCD / Leinster)
7. Conall Boomer (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster)*
8. Kelvin Brown (Shannon / Munster)


16. Adam McBurney (Ballymena / Ulster)
17. Andrew Porter (UCD / Leinster)
18. Adam Coyle (Naas / Leinster)
19. Cillian Gallagher (Sligo /Connacht)
20. Max Deegan (Lansdowne / Leinster)
21. Stephen Kerins (Sligo / Connacht)
22. Shane Daly (Cork Con / Munster)
23. Jacob Stockdale (Belfast Harlequins / Ulster)

Georgia u20:

15. Mirian Modebadze (AIA)
14. Lado Miminoshvili (Batumi)
13. Giorgi Koshadze (Kharebi)
12. Giorgi Kveseladze (Armazi)
11. Sandro Merkvilishvili (Armia),
10. David Modzgvrishvili (Academia)
9. Vasil Lobzhanidze (Armazi) Capt.

1. Tornike Mataradze (AIA)
2. Lasha Sajaia (Jiki)
3. Lasha Tabidze (Bordeaux)
4. Mikheil Babunashvili (AIA)
5. Otar Giorgadze (Clermont)
6. Ilia Spanderashvili (Armia)
7. Giorgi Tsutskiridze (Brive)
8. Beka Gorgadze (Mon de Marsan)


16. Giorgi Khuroshvili (Armazi),
17. Luka Goginava (Locomotive)
18. Giorgi Melikidze (Stade France)
19. Demur Epremidze (Kochebi)
20. Irakli Tskhadadze (Armazi)
21. Gela Afrasidze (Lelo Saracens)
22. Sandro Iluridze (Academia)
23. Rati Shanidze (Lelo Saracens)

A little word on some of the permutations we’ll be dealing with later this evening to determine who plays who in the semi-finals.

With three pools, the top spot in each will take a place in the semi-finals as well as the best runner-up. In pool c Argentina (who started the day level on points with the Wolfpups) have beaten Japan 39 – 20.

Points difference will be the primary deciding factor between teams level on points, so the Puma kittens have extended their advantage on that score to 34 while Ireland are on 10.

With England boasting 10 match points and a points difference of 82 (though they must play Australia tonight) , I’m projecting Ireland going to the semis as third seeds behind Argentina and England.

But we’ll save the crossing of those bridges for if/when Ireland get the job done against Georgia. It won’t be easy, they ran Grand Slam champs Wales within a point last time out and French-based forwards always pack a punch.

Right, the teams are on their way out of the tunnel in Manchester. We’ll have an anthem or two, then it’s down to business.

KICK-OFF: Georgia get us off and running. Boomer takes it in his 22 and is immediately rocked back. Ireland are turned over in the next phase and the black jerseys can attack.

2 mins: Two poor errors from Georgia let Ireland out. First a knock on in the 22 and then the line-out  throw is faked and McPhillips bangs the ball upfield.

Brett Connon knocks on while taking a long kick and the powerful black pack lays down a marker, winning a penalty which Modzgvrishvili  pings into the corner.


Nice set move off the top of the line-out and Georgia invite their power runners into contact…

TRY! Ireland 0 Georgia 5 (Lobzhanidze ’3)

The try came after an excellent carry from Clermont lock Otar Giorgadze and the skipper and scrum-half did well to cut back against the grain to dive over the line.They added the conversion too.

Ireland 0 Georgia 7


TRY! Ireland 5 Georgia 7 (Keenan ’7)

Excellent response from Ireland, as Hugo Keenan races into the left corner.

We’re with the TMO to judge some foul play from Georgia’s blindside at a ruck leading up to the Irish try.

RED CARD: The meeting with ref and TMO adjudges Ilia Spanderashvili to have kicked out at a ruck.

McPhillips added the conversion from the touchline.

Ireland 7 Georgia 7

10 mins: So a hammer blow for Georgia and an invite for Ireland to play expansive rugby. As we know from Saturday though, an extra man doesn’t guarantee victory.

Here’s a clip of the Georgian try, they probably won’t get another chance to attack with this venom.


PENALTY! Ireland 10 Georgia 7 (McPhillips ’14)

The out-half shows his beautiful striking action from over 40 metres to nudge the 15 men into the lead. It will be interesting to see how both sides approach this game now after the game-changing card.

Ireland are packing down to business now, Vincent O’Brien puts the maul to work and it quickly puts Georgia on their heels before they take a penalty.

PENALTY! Ireland 13 Georgia 7 (McPhillips ’17)

20 mins: Down to 14 men, it’s Georgia’s prerogative to make this game as narrow as possible. It’s where they’re strongest in the first place and they’ve shown their strength with a big pack effort that forced a penalty.

Unfortunately for them, David Modzgvrishvili pushed a very kick-able penalty right of the posts.

22 mins:  Georgia fullback caught offside on the restart. McPhillips passes up the kick at goal this time and kicks for the corner.

The maul gets going again, forcing a serious scramble of black jerseys to break it up. They rumble within a metre, but cough the ball up. No matter, we go back for a penalty.

24 mins: The offloads that characterised the wins earlier in the pool haven’t quite clicked yet and, after hitting up Kiernan off the back of this maul, Ireland spill the ball and Georgia clear.

More injury changes then, Cillian Gallagher come on for openside Conall Boomer.  Giorgadze is away for a HIA.

OOOF.  that’s a wake-up call for Cillian Gallagher. The Sligo man wasn’t in the 23 man squad yesterday, but with the withdrawal of James Ryan and Conall Boomer he is on the field in time to take a crushing hit to the ribs as Ireland attacked the 22.

30 mins: Ireland patiently probing for gaps, but a lot of the play is lateral until McPhilliips hits the gas and breaks the line. He’s brought down in front of the posts, but Georgia scramble and fan out well to stop Kennedy from finishing in the corner.

Apologies, it looked like a permanent switch earlier, but Conall Boomer is back on the field after passing a HIA. Gallagher might be glad to escape the war-zone (for now).

The Georgian fundamentals remain strong, causing Ireland a lot of trouble at the scrum in particular while the defence has done a great job of making Ireland attempt difficult plays to break through.

35 mins: Bang. There’s the riposte from the Ireland pack. After the pack had taken a talk from the referee, they seem to get the benefit and win a penalty to set up shop in opposition territory.

Powerul play off another solid line-out from Ireland. Max Deegan draws numbers in to his carry and when Johnny McPhillips sees a gap, he dives through the air and over the try-line.

He adds the conversion for good measure.

Ireland 20 Georgia 7

Ireland will end the half camped on the Georgian 5 metre line trying to force an error.

Big scrum from the green pack, but Georgia hold firm and clear their lines.

HALF-TIME: Ireland 20 Georgia 7

Here’s the highlight of Ireland’s half, scoring a try while Georgia still had 15 men on the field. Lovely hands from McPhillips and Kennedy before Keenan finished it off.


Another shock is being threatened in the other game in this pool. Wales led New Zealand 14 – 3, but the Baby Blacks have come back to cut the gap to 14 -10 at half-time.

Here comes the second half then, McPhillips will kick Ireland off.

41 mins:  The power in Georgia’s carrying continues to cause Ireland problems and milk penalties. Sean O’Connor the latest culprit and they can set up a line-out in the Ireland 22.

Cillian Gallagher gets his hands in for a superb poach attempt in his own 22. Wins a penalty to relieve the pressure and put Ireland on the attack again.

Apologies, it was of course Evan Mintern on the poach. We’re used to seeing Gallagher in that jersey after the opening two games.

49 mins: A scrum deep in Georgian territory and Ireland get absolutely minced before the penalty is called for the black pack.

Nigel Carolan immediately sends Big Andrew Porter on to test himself against some prime Georgian beef.

Ireland soon get back on the attack off a stolen line-out and Conall Boomer gives Kiernan an inside ball. He storms up the flank, but just runs out of space and is helped into touch.

Boomer is growing into this game and his carrying his helping Ireland keep a tempo in their attacks. Despite some big carries from Jones and Deegan, Ireland have to settle for a penalty here after Georgia frustrate the boys in green again.

PENALTY! Ireland 23 Georgia 7 (McPhllips ’53)

Andrew Porter has steamed into this game. Demolishing rucks and forcing penalties already. On commentary, Shane Horgan is suggesting he should be seeing a senior squad sooner rather than later.

Another day, another superb Irish second half offload. Ireland finally look really fluid in attack, with good pace and depth. Greg Jones draws two men his way and slips the ball out the side to Jimmy O’Brien, who makes it an exemplary two on one execution as he sends Terry Kennedy into the corner. McPhillips misses the conversion.

Jimmy O’Brien gets justice there. He was shoulder barged as he kicked. The referee originally allowed the out-on-the-full call to stand, but after a TMO check the penalty goes Ireland’s way.

Ref shows a little sympathy by not showing a card.

66 mins: There you go. Undeterred by his chat with the ref, Giorgi Kveseladze comes out of the line and flattens Shane Daly minutes after he got into the game. A powerful shot that rocked Ireland’s attack back a few steps after Porter’s carry looked set to lead to a try.

Back Ireland come. Jacob Stockdale is on and he was unable to use the man outside him en route to the right corner. But Ireland will go again, back towards the posts with the big boys before Saunders dives for the line.

He’s got the touchdown, but is he out?

No try. The scrum-half’s leg just sneaked its way to the sideline before he planted the pill.

TRY! Ireland 33 Georgia 7 (Kerins ’73)

The replacement scrum-half dances through the defence and dots under the posts. But we’re back with the TMO checking for a forward pass.

NO TRY! Ireland 28 Georgia 7

Call it back, lads. Call it back. The slow-mo replay shows Shane Daly’s pass to to Kennedy went forwards. Ah well.

Horgan has plumped for second row Sean O’Connor as his man of the match today. Solid choice, Ireland’s line-out and maul has barely missed a beat.

In the pool’s other game, New Zealand have pulled it out of the fire. A last-gasp penalty has given them an 18 – 17 win over Wales.

SIN-BIN Luka Goginava is given the line and Ireland can give the line-out one last shot.

Great hands from Mintern after a pass slipped from O’Brien’s hands, the lock picked it out of the air with one hand.

TRY! Ireland 33 Georgia 7 (Porter ’80)


No doubt about that one, the front row powerhouse hits the gas and rumbles over the line.

Brett Connon adds the conversion.

FULL-TIME: Ireland 35 Georgia 7

That’s all from the liveblog today folks, thanks for stopping in and watching the Wolfpups finish the job in this pool.

The semi-finals are on Monday, but we’ll have plenty from Manchester between now an then, including news of who Ireland will face once England and Australia complete their tussle tonight.

About the author:

Sean Farrell