Rugby Union: Ireland record is just first step

Ireland 70 Georgia 0
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The Independent Online
IRELAND'S RECORD score says everything about the limited nature of Georgia and anything less than trumping the 60-0 win over Romania a dozen years ago would have been regarded as failure. This was probably the worst international side to ever visit Dublin.

Beyond reasonably solid set-pieces, and the hefty boot of out-half Besik Tefnadze, the Georgians had nothing to offer with the ball. Without it, their big pack tackled big, even if, for the most part, they lived offside.

This did not quite fall into the category of a glorified training run and so served some purpose, most notably try-scoring debuts for the centre Pat Duignan and the substitute pair of scrum-half Ciaran Scally and the full-back Girvan Dempsey.

Dempsey's pacy pair of late tries were in striking comparison with Conor O'Shea, who had laboured for 21 Tests before finally breaking his duck here. The 19-year-old Scally looked a real find, bearing out Warren Gatland's judgement in picking Leinster's reserve scrum-half after only one full outing for his province. His passing was notably longer and quicker than that of Connor McGuinness.

It took a slightly rusty Ireland 35 minutes to subdue the visitors - at which point they had only two tries to show for their laboured efforts, both of which were drives from close range line-outs.

None the less, there had been a marked attempt to keep the ball alive and the gifted Eric Miller looked the most adept on his return, while there was also an emotional comeback for Jeremy Davidson.

"It was only the first step, and a small step," said the Irish manager, Donal Lenihan. "A lot needs to be improved."

Ireland: Tries Dempsey 2, Wallace, Johns, Maggs, O'Shea, Costello, Duignan, Bell, Scally; Conversions Elwood 10.

IRELAND: C O'Shea (London Irish); J Bishop (London Irish), P Duignan (Galwegians), J Bell (Dungannon), K Maggs (Bath); E Elwood (Galwegians), C McGuinness (St Mary's College); P Clohessy (Young Munster), R Nesdale (Newcastle), P Wallace (Saracens), P Johns (Saracens, capt), M O'Kelly (London Irish), E Miller (Terenure College), V Costello (St Mary's College), A Ward (Ballynahinch). Replacements: A Clarke (Dungannon) for Nesdale, 29; C Scally (UCD) for McGuinness, 54; G Dempsey (Terenure College) for O'Shea, 54; D O'Cuinneagain (Sale) for Costello, 60; J Davidson (Castres) for O'Kelly, 60; J Fitzpatrick (Dungannon) for Clohessy, 63.

GEORGIA: V Abachidze (Gumari); G Bugianachvili (Gumari), E Dzagnidze (Datvebi), V Katsadze (M Auguio), A Kavtarachvili (Padova); B Tefnadze (Kochebi), C Djanlidze (Gumari); I Tchikava (Kochebi), L Javelidze (Gumari), G Chvelidze (Ska), I Zedgenidze (Maugio), V Nadiradze (La Teste), A Kobaxidze (Korebi), K Kobakhidze (Koshebi), G Labadze (Penza). Replacements: P Jimcheladze (Gumari) for Labadze h-t; B Khamashuridze (Air SD) for Kobakhidze h-t; Z Mtchedlichvili (Millau) for Dzagnidze h-t; L Tsabadze (Narbonne) for Tchikava 69.

Referee: R Davies (Wales).