*The hosts scored six tries in 49-7 victory
*Ireland who were captained by Eoin Reddan had three debutants
*The home team only led 9-0 at half time before ramping up the intensity
The Ireland team Photo before the game!
Ireland continued their impressive Guinness Series with a 49 -7 victory over Georgia on Sunday. The hosts ran in six tries while three players – Dave Foley, Dominic Ryan & Robin Copeland – made their debuts. Dave Kilcoyne, Richardt Strauss, Simon Zebo, Felix Jones and Stuart Olding all crossed for tries, while Ian Madigan kicked 19 points from the tee. While the score line is impressive, at least on paper, it wasn’t plain sailing for Ireland. Georgia started well and dominated the opening ten minutes. Number eight Dimitri Basilaia was involved early as the visitors gained ground after a couple of knock-ons from Ireland. Georgia were rewarded with their early dominance as Mike Ross was penalised at the scrum. However fullback Merab Kvirikashvili couldn’t capitalise as his effort at goal went wide.Ireland now had possession and were finally able to get out of their 22. Madigan dropped a nice grubber in behind the Georgian defence after a good run from Felix Jones. Georgia did well to clear their lines but two minutes later second row Kote Mikautadze was penalised for not rolling away. Madigan slotted the ensuing penalty and Ireland were off the mark. The crowd were on their feet a few minutes later as Kilcoyne made a barging 30 metre run which was very reminiscent of Cian Healy’s now iconic charge versus the All Blacks last November.
Move out the way! Kilcoyne on the charge
Georgia were penalised again and Madigan doubled the hosts lead. Jones impressed from fullback as Ireland made a number of promising breaks but failed to see them through. Ill-discipline cost the visitors however and on the stroke of half time referee JP Doyle had had enough as scrum half Giorgi Begadze coped ten minutes in the bin for repeated team infringements. Madigan slotted the penalty and the hosts went into the break 9-0 up.
Eyes on the prize! Zebo looks to reclaim possession
Ireland made use of the extra man from the start of the second half. A penalty for foul play allowed Simon Zebo to kick to touch deep inside the Georgian 22. Struass was accurate with his throw and Ireland mauled which gave them good momentum. The ball was presented nicely and Kilcoyne was the beneficiary of some hard work as the loosehead crashed over the line after a nicely timed pass from Reddan and a delayed run from the Munster man. Madigan converted the try and Ireland led 16-0. Ireland, who couldn’t score a five pointer in the first half only had to wait another nine minutes for the second of the game as again they mauled superbly.
Try time! Dave Kilcoyne scored for Ireland at the start of of the second half
The ever industrious Strauss crossed the line after a good take from Robbie Diack at the tail of the lineout. Coach Joe Schmidt, always the perfectionist, might remind the Leinster hooker not to leave such a rampant maul as early as he did, as other opposition might have held him out. Georgia didn’t however and Ireland started to pull away.
Georgia didn’t give up as second row Giorgi Nemsadze crossed for a well-deserved try after good work again by Basilaia. Nemsadze cut a great line from the number 8 and the conversion was successful. 23-7!
Georgia’s high penalty count cost them dearly as they had two players sent to the bin
However that was as good as it got for the visitors as silly penalties saw Georgia dropped to 14 men again as Basilaia was given his marching orders for interfering with the ball off his feet. Ireland opted for the scrum and after a good inside pass from Reddan to Craig Gilroy Ireland went wide and Zebo cantered in for his fourth international try. Schmidt decided to unload the bench as Olding, Copeland, Devin Toner, Sean Cronin, Ian Keatley and Kieran Marmion all came on. Jones scored a good team try in the right hand corner after again some good play in the lineout.
Felix Jones scored his first of two tries after some good work by the Irish forwards
The try of the day came eight minutes from time as Copeland won back possession in Ireland’s 22. Olding fed Marmion who broke down the middle and in turn fed Keatley. The Munster pivot did well to dummy before giving it to Cronin on the touchline. The abrasive hooker unselfishly popped it to Jones running a switch and the full back was over for his second of the day!
Olding scored Ireland’s sixth and final try a couple of minutes from time after a nicely timed pass from Keatley saw the Ulsterman go in by the posts. Georgia pushed for a second try at the end but poor hands dashed their chance as Ireland made it two wins from two.
Seeing double! Jones scored his second, and Ireland’s best try of the match
Man of the Match: There were some good performances from a number of players. Felix Jones was strong at full back, commanding the air on more than one occasion and making some strong runs from deep. The Munster man has definitely shown his credentials and his two tries didn’t do any harm. However, a special mention has to be made for debutant Dave Foley who was at the heart of Ireland’s win. The lock continued his fine form this season and definitely put his hand up for selection next week against the Wallabies. A mention too for Georgian number 8 Dimitri Basilaia who worked tirelessly (albeit copping a yellow card for his troubles) and left wing Sandro Todua who was strong in attack.
Key Moments: Felix Jones second try was great to watch as Ireland ran 80 metres before the full back ran in. The match was done as a contest well before this but it was certainly the pick of the bunch. Georgia’s high penalty count and two yellow cards were extremely costly but they can take much from the match including their well worked try and ability to keep the score line 9-0 at the break. The visitors dearly missed Mamuka Gorgodze, their usual captain. The flanker has long been one of the best players in Europe and his physicality and leadership would have helped the cause.
Captain fantastic! Mamuka Gorgodze was sorely missed by Georgia
Next Match – Australia: Expect plenty of changes from Joe Schmidt as Ireland have a short turn around before they encounter Australia on Saturday (22nd November). Ireland should field a team similar to the one that over turned the Springboks a week ago, with front line players such as Paul O’Connell, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton and Rob Kearney all expected to be recalled.
So did anyone do enough against Georgia to force their way into the starting XV for next week against Australia? Dave Foley probably did the most to warrant inclusion, at least on the bench and possibly to start. Felix Jones was also very strong. Schmidt could put him on the wing instead of Zebo however the later didn’t do too much wrong to deserve being dropped at this point. The only other real change to be expected could be forced as Payne is still touch and go whether he will be fit in time the Wallabies come to town. If the Ulsterman doesn’t recover in time, one would imagine Gordon D’Arcy would start at twelve and Robbie Henshaw at thirteen.