The teams are up for the final Pool A match in the Nations Cup featuring Ireland and Georgia. The match, at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, kicks off a 14:00 on Sunday evening, 29th November and will be shown live on C4 and Amazon Prime.
The Ireland side features Ulster’s Jacob Stockdale, Stuart McCloskey, Billy Burns, Rob Herring and Iain Henderson in the starting line up for the encounter against the Tier Two side.
Stuart McCloskey makes a welcome return to the Ireland side after a strong start to the season for Ulster. The Bangor bruiser starts in the centre alongside former Ulster player Chris Farrell in a new look midfield.
Photo credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
I must admit, I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for The Lelos since I covered the U20 World Championship in Kutaisi and Tbilisi in 2017 and though the senior sides haven’t met since 2014 the U20’s have met three times in the last four Championships.
With Georgia U20’s showing steady improvement over those matches from 2016 – 2018, resulting in a win against Ireland U20 in the 2018 meeting, I had expected them to do better in this competition. However, given how this competition was thrown together I was probably being a touch overoptimistic.
There are six Georgian players from those meetings included in this squad with Giorgi Kveseladze, Tedo Abzhandadze, Lasha Jaiani, Beka Saginadze and Beka Gorgadze in the starting line up with Demur Tapladze on the bench. Unfortunately talented scrum half Gela Aprasidze hasn’t made the cut for this one, despite featuring against England and Wales. This leaves out half Abzhandadze as the player most likely to cause Ireland problems having orchestrated that win against Ireland in 2018.
Ireland have five players involved from their 2016 meeting in Manchester with Stockdale, Keenan, Andrew Porter and James Ryan in the starting line up and they are joined by Shane Daly who will be hoping to make his senior debut from the bench. The only other extended squad member involved in the U20’s meetings is Caelan Doris who was involved in the 2017 and 2018 meetings, but sits this one out.
It’ll be an interesting encounter as Georgia play a very similar style of rugby to Ireland with both sides prefering to play without the ball. Looking at the team sheets Ireland seem to be setting themselves up for an attritional game with Chris Farrell and McCloskey in the centre and you would think that Stockdale, Keenan and Keith Earls will have to live off counter attack ball.
Billy Burns is given his first start for Ireland after impressing of the bench against England. However, he will have his work cut out to make a lasting impression against, tier two opposition, Georgia with a big win for Ireland expected.
Photo credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Given the opposition, Billy Burns will have to work hard to impress. I can see him getting smashed early doors, if David Humphreys and Neil Doak have had any input into the Georgian tactics, and he’s going to have to contain his opposite number, Abzhandadze, if Ireland are to get the high scoring win that the D4 press will be clamoring for.
The FRU predicts: I expect this will be one for the aficionados. Ireland to pull clear in the last 20 after a fairly attritional first sixty minutes.
|Jacob Stockdale||15||Soso Matiashvili|
|Hugo Keenan||14||Akaki Tabutsadze|
|Chris Farrell||13||Giorgi Kveseladze|
|Stuart McCloskey||12||Merab Sharikadze (C)|
|Keith Earls||11||Tamaz Mchedlidze|
|Billy Burns||10||Tedo Abzhandadze|
|Conor Murray||9||Vasil Lobzhanidze|
|Finlay Bealham||1||Mikheil Nariashvili|
|Rob Herring||2||Shalva Mamukashvili|
|Andrew Porter||3||Beka Gigashvili|
|Iain Henderson||4||Nodar Cheishvili|
|James Ryan (C)||5||Lasha Jaiani|
|Tadhg Beirne||6||Beka Saginadze|
|Will Connors||7||Tornike Jalagonia|
|CJ Stander||8||Beka Gorgadze|
|Dave Heffernan||16||Giorgi Chkoidze|
|Cian Healy||17||Lexo Kaulashvili|
|John Ryan||18||Giorgi Melikidze|
|Quinn Roux||19||Giorgi Javakhia|
|Peter O’Mahony||20||Mikheil Gachechiladze|
|Kieran Marmion||21||Mikheil Alania*|
|Ross Byrne||22||Demur Tapladze|
|Shane Daly*||23||David Niniashvili*|