Ireland beat a much-improved Georgia 23-10 and completed the Autumn Nations Cup group stage at Lansdowne Road on Sunday (NZT Monday).
Ireland finished second behind England in their group and will play against Scotland, the runner-up in the other group, for third place this weekend.
England will host the inaugural final against France in Twickenham, Wales and Italy will meet for fifth place, and Georgia and Fiji, who have yet to play due to a coronavirus outbreak in their camp, will play for seventh place.
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An experimental Ireland deserved to lead Georgia 20-7 after the first half, culminating in Georgia’s first points in the tournament, a brilliant attempt by center Giorgi Kveseladze.
The second half, however, was a stop-start stalemate as the physical Georgians gained confidence but were prone to error, and Ireland’s efforts became more disjointed and controlled.
“In the second half I thought we didn’t have the courage of our own belief,” said coach Andy Farrell.
“Georgia absolutely deserved to earn the right to slow down our game by being a total threat in the outage. But that’s not good enough for us. “
Ireland scored both attempts in the first half, got another disallowed and had tries to keep the line at the end of each half.
The first five-eighth Billy Burns, an accomplished first start cut short by a groin injury after 45 minutes, snatched Chris Farrell’s sweet pass and slashed it off the posts, and right-wing Hugo Keenan took fullback Jacob Stockdale’s misspass to keep it untouched. to score.
But the best attempt was Georgia’s, and it was worth the wait after nearly three hours of tournament play with no score.
Kveseladze burst through a hole halfway through with an inside pass from Soso Matiashvili, slipped out of a defender, dummied Stockdale, twisted Burns, and slid in at the left post with Stuart McCloskey on his back.
“I am proud of my team. The boys scored an excellent try, ”said Georgia coach Levan Maisashvili.
At the end of the half, a 50-meter attempt by McCloskey in his first test in two years was rejected due to a forward pass, and captain James Ryan was held up by Kveseladze.
After the break Burns, who added 15 points, was missed. Each side only added a penalty and cleared the benches; Ireland debuted as a defender for Shane Daly and Georgia debuted with 18-year-old fullback David Niniashvili and 20-year-old scrum half Mikheil Alania.
In the end, Ireland attacked No. 8 CJ Stander twice on the tryline and was rejected; is held up by Alania and flanker Tornike Jalagonia, then repelled by Kveseladze, who pushes him back.