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Ireland rise as debutants have a ball

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Ireland's Dave Foley gets the ball to team-mate Tommy O'Donnell

Ireland's Dave Foley gets the ball to team-mate Tommy O'Donnell

SPORTSFILE

Stuart Olding, Ireland, touches down to score his side's sixth try of the game

Stuart Olding, Ireland, touches down to score his side's sixth try of the game

SPORTSFILE

Felix Jones, Ireland, dives in to score his side's fourth try of the game despite the efforts of David Kacharava, Georgia

Felix Jones, Ireland, dives in to score his side's fourth try of the game despite the efforts of David Kacharava, Georgia

SPORTSFILE

Ireland's Dave Foley gets the ball to team-mate Tommy O'Donnell

Trust is gained, not given. While it is impossible to precisely assess the operation of any man's mind, especially Joe Schmidt's, it would not be stretching credibility to suggest this is where Ireland's lead-in to the 2015 World Cup began in earnest.

Not with South Africa last week. Not with Australia next week.

In fact, the results elsewhere - Australia's defeat by France, England's by South Africa - enabled Ireland to move up to third in the World Rankings for the first time since November 2006, the last time they completed an Autumn clean sweep.

More forensically, it is the weakest link that determines the strength of the chain.

Ireland are in a process of building towards a time of tumultuous pressure next Autumn and Schmidt will need every jack man of his to be at the ready.

Dominic Ryan and Dave Foley made their debuts and the boys done good.

"You saw a guy making his test debut running a lineout very effectively," said Schmidt about Foley.

Leinster flanker Ryan was also in the thick of the action.

"He got some solid ball-carry over the gain line and his work-rate was high and that's what we were looking for from him."

And there was one other.

"Robin Copeland came on and delivered something just a little bit outside the box," said Schmidt.

"He's a guy who can just change the shape of the game a little bit in that he's such a good athlete that it allows him to get into space or to dominate collisions and free the ball up."

This was as much about winning over the coach as it was about winning against the 15th-ranked nation in the world.

Sharply

Ireland did not have the ball the first four minutes. Tommy O'Donnell and Ryan were sharply into contact. There was a focus on slowing down the ball by holding up the ball carrier.

From the third scrum, referee JP Doyle whistled Mike Ross for slipping his bind. Full-back Merab Kvirikashvili missed to the right of the sticks.

A garryowen from Eoin Reddan forced a knock-on. Ireland could play from their first stable scrum. Madigan rightly tickled a grubber into the 22.

A neat take from Foley at the lineout set up a surge which tempted Georgia into killing the ball. Madigan struck for three in the 12th minute.

The home side was right to keep it tight until Simon Zebo countered, Reddan went with the quick tap and Dave Kilcoyne stampeded forward.

The attack eventually caused another penalty for the trusty Madigan.

Then, Darren Cave and Reddan combined to light up the stadium with Ryan there in support. Zebo's stutter-step didn't fool Tamaz Mchedlidze.

Ireland were finding Felix Jones' security under the high ball as their first point of attack. Madigan stepped on the gas to put Cave into space, his kick through cleaned up by Todua.

Ireland were a touch too eager to make things happen.

There was always the maul. They came twice. O'Donnell lost the ball in the reach to the line.

The heat went out of the attack when Kilcoyne hit the floor at the scrum.

There was time for neat interplay between Madigan and Darren Cave to set Gilroy free only for scrum-half Giorgi Begadze to see yellow and Madigan to make it 9-0 at the interval .

Ireland needed to reboot. Lock Konstantine Mikaudadze's short arm into Robbie Diack was spotted by referee Doyle.

Exploited

Reddan fine-tuned his runners. Foley exploited a soft shoulder. Kilcoyne went through centre Davit Kacharava for the first try in the 42nd minute, converted by Madigan.

The signs were better. Diack came back against the grain, but couldn't find his support. Gilroy made ground. D'Arcy got in on the poach for a penalty. Madigan went for the corner.

Strauss found Diack at the tail of the lineout and the hooker came around to take the ball home for Madigan's extras to go 23 up in the 51st minute.

Ireland looked well set in defence until Begadze sucked in Foley and Ryan for lock Giorgi Nemsadze to scamper like a wing for a try, the conversion drop-kicked by Kvirikashvili.

Georgia reverted to type on the backfoot. Their number eight Viktor Kolelishvili was binned for playing the ball from an offside position.

Ireland opted for the scrum. Diack applied soft hands from the base. Cave tidied up a loose ball and Madigan put Zebo over unopposed for the fly-half to convert for 30-7 in the 63rd minute.

The visitors were wilting badly, gong down to 13 men when Lasha Malaguradze was stretchered from the field. The space was on the outside where Jones appeared to slide in at the right corner.

Replacement Copeland ripped the ball away for Stuart Olding to start a counter which concluded with a second try for Jones.

The space was wide open. Olding sliced and diced Georgia from Ian Keatley's short ball for his first international try with Madigan finishing with eight from 10 off the floor.


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