Ireland v Georgia 2024 JWC Game 2

Ireland played their 2nd game at the Under 20 Junior World Championship against Georgia and after an intense battle, Ireland found a late score from replacement Finn Tracey to put them 20-16 in front with the clock well in the red, Jack Murphy kicked the extra two to see Ireland home 22-16.

Unlike the opener vs Italy, this was a game where Ireland were put under pressure and Georgia well in charge and will count themselves unlucky not to hold on for the win and they will agonise over two missed kicks in the 2nd half that would have pushed them clear and made it tough for Ireland to get back into the game.

Ireland have plenty to work on in the next few days with Australia on the final day of the pools next Tuesday. They will make a few changes and will look to tighten up at the set piece that like Italy, Georgia put under severe pressure and it will be a way for Australia to see can they work their way into the game after their own loss to Italy.

Georgia used a strong set piece to their advantage and earned numerous penalties along with putting the Irish line out under strain and they also used there ball carrying centres to great effect and this in turn yielded field position which put them in positions to attack Ireland who led 12-6 at half time.

Two tries from Steve Smyth and Hugh Gavin along with one conversion from Sean Naughton had Ireland in control but Georgia plugged away and kicked two penalties to make sure they were in touch at the half.

They came out in the second half and dominated territory and possession and kicked on and gained the lead 13-12 and then kicked another penalty to push further clear 16-12, Ireland fired back to come within one point 16-15. Georgia then missed two penalties that may have seen them far enough ahead to hold out for the win and made it only possible for Ireland to get a draw from the game with any late score they made have gotten.

As it was they managed the final moments in a fashion I have only seen from Ireland teams in the past few years. They stuck to the game plan and although I thought they might be better to try for a drop goal but they moved a tiring Georgian pack around and with genuine discipline in attack they worked the ball until they had the overlap and then they fired the ball out wide for Finn Tracey to gather and dot down in the corner to push them in front 20-16 with no time left for a Georgian reply, Jack Murphy added the extra two to seal a 22-16 win.

This game will remind this Irish side of how unpredictable this age group can be, one moment you can win with plenty to spare and then like yesterday another team can perform well and deserve to win but sport as we see regularly doesn’t do sentiment or deserved wins. Ireland will likely make a few changes and likely revert back to a more familiar 23 for the game against Australia next Tuesday.

It is all to play for in Round 3 of the pool for Ireland, Australia and Italy with Georgia the only ones who have nothing to play for on the last day of the pool….

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