Matthew Dalton, Aaron Hall and James Hume are the Ulster representatives in the Ireland U20s side that will take on Georgia in the final pool C match of the World Rugby U20 Championship 2018.
Jonny Stewart and Matthew Agnew are among replacements.
Noel McNamara has made three changes to the forwards; Dalton returns to the second row while Hall and Jack Daly receive their first starts of the tournament in the back row. The front row remains unchanged with Jordan Duggan, Diarmuid Barron and Jack Aungier making their third starts of the tournament. Dalton is partnered by Jack Dunne while Caelan Doris completes the back row.
Hugh O’Sullivan replaces Stewart at scrum half alongside Conor Dean at out half while James Hume and Tommy O’Brien form the centre partnership. Sean O’Brien is the only player to retain his spot in the back three as Peter Sullivan replaces Tom Roche on the right wing and Peter Sylvester takes Michael Silvester’s spot at full back.
Both Ireland and Georgia sit with 1 point in Pool C with Ireland marginally ahead of the 2015 U20 Trophy winners on points difference. While both will fancy themselves against each other, one eye will be kept on the Italy v Argentina match in Pool B in which a favourable result could see the winner of Ireland and Georgia progress.
This is how it stands between those four sides competing for the final two seeds in the 5th-8th section:
While it is still mathematically possible that Wales and Australia could finish below the 5th-8th play off spots, it is not likely that Wales will lose to Japan and we do not anticipate Australia to suffer a heavy defeat against New Zealand that would see their positive points difference of 30 wiped out.
An Argentina win where Italy do not pick up a losing bonus point, coupled with a try bonus point win for Ireland (or Georgia!) would see them placed in the 5th-8th category. On the other hand, if Argentina suffer a heavy defeat, and Ireland (or Georgia) win with a bonus point, then Pool C will have a side in the 5th-8th category. In short, only a bonus point win will do for Ireland
However that is not a given for Ireland. Georgia have two individuals in the backline, outhalf Tedo Abzhandadze and Beka Mamukashvili at fullback who have the ability to win the game. As well as this, their pack is strong in is slowly breaking the stereotype of tiring after the hour mark.
Georgia lead at half time 17-12 against South Africa in their opening fixture in Perpignan and despite there only being four points in it at full time, the Junior Boks never looked like losing the match in the last ten minutes. Nevertheless, they played a fast defensive line which put pressure on the South African attackers and forced mistakes.
Similarly, out-half Tedo Abzhandadze was willing to chip the ball over the rushing defence when in attack. This was evident in the first try where inside centre, Lasha Lomidze gathered a Abzhandadze grubber under the posts. Luka Dvalishvili gave the Georgians hope with nine minutes and while South Africa held on, it is a feature of this team that they do not go down without a fight.
Against France, Georgia were defeated more convincingly than in their opening game. Trailing 17-7 at half time, a try from Iban Etcheverry put 17 points between the sides with 25 minutes left and last year’s hosts could only muster one try in their attempt to close the gap.
The FRU Predicts: A bonus point will be a step too far for this Irish side and they will have to settle for 9th seeds heading into the next round with a five-point victory tomorrow night.
|Ireland U20||Georgia U20|
|Peter Sylvester||15||Beka Mamukashvili|
|Peter Sullivan||14||Demur Tapladze|
|Tommy O’Brien||13||Sandro Svanidze|
|James Hume||12||Giorgi Tsiklauri|
|Sean O’Brien||11||Otar Dzagnidze|
|Conor Dean||10||Tedo Abzhdadze|
|Hugh O’Sullivan||9||Gela Aprasidze|
|Jordan Duggan||1||Guram Gogichashvili|
|Diarmuid Barron||2||Levan Papidze|
|Jack Aungier||3||Luka Japaridze|
|Matthew Dalton||4||Beka Saghinadze|
|Jack Dunne||5||Arseni Machaladze|
|Aaron Hall||6||Sandro Mamtavrishvili|
|Jack Daly||7||Archil Abesadze|
|Caelan Doris||8||Tornike Jalagonia|
|Dan Sheehan||16||Tengiz Zamtaradze|
|Bryan O’Connor||17||Giorgi Nutsubidze|
|Jakub Wojtkowski||18||Gia Kharaishvili|
|Cormac Daly||19||Lasha Jaiani|
|Matthew Agnew||20||Tendo Gigolashvili|
|Jonny Stewart||21||Luka Dvalishvili|
|Harry Byrne||22||Lasha Lomidze|
|James McCarthy||23||Kote Marjanishvili|