The much-changed Ireland XV that should take on Georgia

Ireland face Georgia this Sunday in the Autumn Nations Cup and should make a raft of changes to the side that came up short against England.

The Georgians have had a difficult couple of weeks and are yet to score a point in the tournament so far, a trend that Ireland will look to continue.

Andy Farrell should look to give plenty of fringe players some international experience, as well as resting some battered bodies ahead of their final game of 2020.

Front Row

John Ryan, Rob Herring and Finlay Bealham

Georgia’s main area of strength is their scrum and the Irish pack will be expecting a fierce challenge up front.

Cian Healy and Andrew Porter have started in Ireland’s last four tests and deserve a break. However, fans should have nothing to fear with Ryan and Bealham in tow.

Herring could stake a major claim for the starting hooker position if the lineout operates smoothly after Kelleher’s troubles last weekend.

Second Row

Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson

Both men have been arguably underutilised in Ireland’s Autumn campaign so far, although Henderson has been experiencing injury difficulties of late.

Beirne started in the games against Italy and France, but was displaced by Quinn Roux for the encounters with Wales and England.

Both Henderson and Beirne offer plenty of dynamism at second row, and the latter’s poaching abilities should prove to be a major issue for the Georgian’s if selected.

Back Row

Peter O’Mahony (captain), Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander

O’Mahony put in his best performances in an Irish jersey in recent times against Wales and England deserves to lead the side out this weekend.

Van der Flier has had limited game time this autumn but more often than not is one of Ireland’s stand-out players and will be desperate to impress.

Stander was quiet against England and will want to show how damaging he can be against a physical Georgian pack.

Half-backs

Kieran Marmion and Billy Burns

The Connacht scrum-half will feel hard done by, having not featured at all for Ireland in their last four games.

However, the man who started in Ireland’s famous win in 2018 over the All Blacks still has plenty to offer his country and deserves to pull on the green jersey again.

Burns looked dangerous when he came on against England and should cause mayhem in for the Georgian defence with plenty of clever kicks and passes.

Centres

Stuart McCloskey and Chris Farrell

The big Ulsterman has only achieved three caps for Ireland so far but that is more of a comment on the nation’s depth in the centres rather than McCloskey’s ability.

McCloskey is well able to run hard at the defence but does make some nice offloads too, which should keep the Georgians guessing.

Farrell had a decent game against England but will want to show how much of an attack threat he poses this Sunday.

Back three

Hugo Keenan, Andrew Conway and Jacob Stockdale

Keenan has been solid for Ireland at fullback in his last two outings but Farrell should be intrigued to see more of him on the wing.

Conway’s omission from the squad for the England game was a bit of a surprise and he’ll want to have a big performance to dissuade the head coach of leaving him out for big games again.

Stockdale had a difficult afternoon at 15 against France but the game against Georgia could be a great opportunity to show off his attacking ability from deep.

Replacements

Eric O’Sullivan, Dave Heffernan, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, Will Connors, Conor Murray, Ross Byrne, Shane Daly

A healthy mix of experience and potential would be the best way forward for a game that should be in the bag by the time the replacements are introduced.

Ulster’s Eric O’Sullivan and Munster’s Shane Daly could be in line for their international debuts in a match that should be perfect for blooding new talent.

Read More About: andy farrell, Autumn Nations Cup, Georgia, Ireland