Autumn Nations Cup - Ireland v Georgia: TV details, kick-off time, team news and more

Andy Farrell’s side look to bounce back from their defeat to England at the Aviva Stadium

James Ryan captains Ireland against Georgia. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

James Ryan captains Ireland against Georgia. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

So, here we are again. In this strangest year Ireland have been left with an all too familiar feeling - picking through the bones of a brutal defeat to England.

Once again, Andy Farrell’s side had no answers in the face of ferocious English line speed and physicality as they were beaten 18-7 at Twickenham last weekend.

Farrell has maintained Ireland’s loss in London will stand to his players, some of whom were experiencing one of rugby’s acid tests for the first time.

And maybe it will. But the truth is Ireland have plenty to work on and improve before Eddie Jones’s side arrive in Dublin next March, looking for a fifth-consecutive win over their old rivals.

Perhaps this weekend’s final Nations Cup group game, against Georgia at the Aviva Stadium, will come at exactly the right time.

Andy Farrell’s side are looking to bounce back in Dublin. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Andy Farrell’s side are looking to bounce back in Dublin. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The visiting Georgians will provide a stuff test up front - particularly at scrum time - but this could be a perfect chance for Farrell to experiment with personnel and encourage his side to play an expansive, attacking game.

A few tries and a morale-boosting victory, albeit against Tier 2 opposition, should cheer everybody up a bit heading into December. Here is everything you need to know ahead of this weekend’s match.

What is it?

The third round of the Autumn Nations Cup, with Ireland welcoming Georgia to the Aviva Stadium.

When is it?

The games kicks off at 3pm on Sunday, November 29th.

How can I watch it?

All of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Cup fixtures are being shown free-to-air by RTÉ and Channel 4 - Saturday’s match is on RTÉ One. The rest of the weekend’s fixtures - including Wales against England on Saturday - are available on Premier Sport in Ireland, and via Amazon Prime in the UK. You can, of course, follow all of the Irish match via out liveblog which will be up and running from around 1.30pm.

Round One
Ireland 32 Wales 9, Friday November 13th, Aviva Stadium (7pm)
Italy 17 Scotland 28 Saturday November 14th, Stadio Artemio Franchi (12.45pm)
England 40 Georgia 0, Saturday November 14th, Twickenham (3pm)
France v Fiji (cancelled - France win 28-0) Sunday November 15th, Stade de la Rabine (3.15pm)

Round Two
Italy v Fiji (cancelled - Italy win 28-0), Saturday November 21st, Stadio del Conero (12.45pm)
England 18 Ireland 7, Saturday November 21st, Twickenham (3pm)
Wales 18 Georgia 0, Saturday November 21st, Parc y Scarlets (5.15pm)
Scotland 15 v 22 France, Sunday November 22nd, Murrayfield (3.15pm)

Round Three
Scotland v Fiji (cancelled - Scotland win 28-0), Saturday November 28th, Murrayfield (1.45pm)
Wales v England, Saturday November 28th, Parc y Scarlets (4pm)
France v Italy, Saturday November 28th, Stade de France (8.10pm)
Ireland v Georgia, Sunday November 29th, Aviva Stadium (2pm)

Finals weekend
Georgia v TBC, Saturday December 5th, Murrayfield (12pm)
Ireland v TBC, Saturday December 5th, Aviva Stadium (2.15pm)
Wales v TBC, Saturday December 5th, Parc y Scarlets (4.45pm)
England v TBC, Sunday December 6th, Twickenham (2pm)

James Ryan is tackled by Maro Itoje at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
James Ryan is tackled by Maro Itoje at Twickenham. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

So, what’s happened so far?

Ireland opened their campaign with a comprehensive, but perhaps misleading, 32-9 victory over a beleaguered Wales side in Dublin. Defeat to England followed, leaving Farrell’s side in second place in Group A. The other two games in the group have seen England and then Wales dispatch Georgia.

Group B has been diminished by the non-participation of Fiji, who have been forced to concede all three of their fixtures due to a mass coronavirus outbreak within their squad. As a result, France, Scotland and Fiji were all awarded 28-0 walkovers. In the two games which have taken place to far Gregor Townsend’s Scots edged Italy in Rome before being edged themselves by Les Bleus in Edinburgh.

What are the permutations?

The format of the Nations Cup sees teams playing their counterparts in the opposite group in a finals weekend - first plays first, second plays second and so on. As it stands, in order for Ireland to finish top of Group A they need to beat Georgia with a bonus point, while hoping Wales beat England in Llanelli. They also need to overturn a points difference of 39. In Group B, France are guaranteed to leapfrog Scotland and finish top if they beat Italy this weekend. This means the likeliest line-up for the finals would see England play France, Ireland play Scotland and Wales play Italy.

The tables

Team news

Andy Farrell has handed a first Ireland start to Billy Burns on Sunday, with Ross Byrne dropping to the bench. Conor Murray is also recalled in the halfbacks, while Jacob Stockdale returns at 15 and Stuart McCloskey is named at 12.

Up front James Ryan resumes as captain, with Finlay Bealham named as starting loosehead. There’s also a place for Will Connors in the backrow, alongside Tadhg Beirne and CJ Stander.

Ireland: Jacob Stockdale; Hugo Keenan, Chris Farrell, Stuart McCloskey, Keith Earls; Billy Burns, Conor Murray; Finlay Bealham, Rob Herring, Andrew Porter; Iain Henderson, James Ryan (capt); Tadhg Beirne, Will Connors, CJ Stander. Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Quinn Roux, Peter O’Mahony, Kieran Marmion, Ross Byrne, Shane Daly.

Billy Burns makes his first Test match start on Sunday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Billy Burns makes his first Test match start on Sunday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Georgia on their minds

This is just the fifth meeting between Ireland and Georgia, and the first for six years. Their first resulted in a 70-0 win for Ireland in Rugby World Cup qualifying in 1998, with another drubbing four years later - 63-14 in 2002. Georgia pushed Ireland all the way in the 2007 World Cup - losing 14-10 in Bordeaux - with the last clash between the two seeing Ireland win 49-7 in the 2014 November Tests.

Gordon D’Arcy on the ball during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup win over Georgia. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Gordon D’Arcy on the ball during Ireland’s Rugby World Cup win over Georgia. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Getting the basics right

In his column this week Gordon D’Arcy has given a damning assessment of Ireland’s performance against England last weekend, suggesting if the teams were still playing now the scoreline would not have changed. . .

“This is a harsh and brutal commentary but Twickenham is a harsh and brutal environment. Maybe this Ireland team became men last Saturday but they looked tactically naïve while doing so. . .

“The coaching in camp will come under severe criticism until they fix the basics. I know what Joe would do. I know what Cheika would do.”

What’s the betting?

Match betting
Wales 11-2 England 1-10 Draw 25-1 (England -15 10-11)
France 1-12 Italy 6-1 Draw 20-1 (France -16 10-11)
Ireland 1-250 Georgia 25-1 Draw 50-1 (Ireland -34 10-11)

Autumn Nations Cup winner
England 4-11
France 7-2
Ireland 16-1
Scotland 14-1
Wales 100-1

Finlay Bealham starts at loosehead against Georgia. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Finlay Bealham starts at loosehead against Georgia. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Who’s on the whistle?

Nigel Owens will be bossing Ireland about this week.

How’s the weather looking?

Sunday looks relatively mild for the last Sunday of November - around 10 degrees - and most importantly should be dry.

Can I go?

*Sighs*

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