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Emerging Ireland Team To Play Georgia

Emerging Ireland Team To Play Georgia

The Emerging Ireland team and replacements have been named for Friday’s IRB Tbilisi Cup opener against tournament hosts Georgia.

The new annual tournament is part of the IRB’s ongoing strategy of increasing the competition schedule for tier two nations.

Emerging Ireland captain Rhys Ruddock, out-half Ian Keatley and prop Michael Bent are the three senior capped players named in the starting line-up to face Georgia.

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Niall Morris, who won the Aviva Premiership with Leicester Tigers recently, features in the back-three alongside full-back David Kearney and Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran.

Belfast Harlequins and Ulster duo Michael Allen and Michael Heaney team up with Eoin Griffin and Keatley at centre and half-back respectively.

Jack McGrath, who started for Leinster in their Amlin Challenge Cup final win last month, combines with Bent and Ulster’s Rob Herring in the front row.

The second row starters will be Lewis Stevenson and David Foley with the latter’s Munster colleague, Ian Nagle, providing back-up, while Leinster pair Ruddock and Dominic Ryan link up with versatile Ulsterman Robbie Diack in the back row.

Noel Reid, who replaced the injured Cathal Marsh in the touring party, is one of four Leinster players among the replacements with Ulster front rowers Niall Annett and Ricky Lutton also hoping to be called upon.

The Emerging Ireland side will be battling it out against some of the strongest developing nations in world rugby, Georgia, South Africa President’s XV and Uruguay, in the coming days.

The matches will be played in the Georgian capital with the teams competing in a round robin format.

Emerging Ireland head coach Allen Clarke is looking forward to the opening game and the challenge of playing an experienced Georgian side.

“The squad has gelled together and prepared well, it’s a young side and there is huge potential there. The Georgian side are very physical and we have to match that. We are looking forward to the game tomorrow evening,” he said.

In squad news, Ulster youngster Peter Nelson has been drafted into the squad to replace Andrew Conway who picked up a calf injury in training.

EMERGING IRELAND Team & Replacements (v Georgia, IRB Tbilisi Cup, Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi, Friday, June 7, kick-off 7pm local time/4pm Irish time):

15 – David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
14 – Niall Morris (Leicester Tigers/Exile) *
13 – Eoin Griffin (Galwegians/Connacht) *
12 – Michael Allen (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
11 – Tiernan O’Halloran (Galwegians/Connacht) *
10 – Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster)
9 – Michael Heaney (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
1 – Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) *
2 – Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) *
3 – Michael Bent (Leinster)
4 – Lewis Stevenson (Malone/Ulster) *
5 – David Foley (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
6 – Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt)
7 – Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
8 – Robbie Diack (Malone/Ulster) *


16 – Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
17 – Richard Lutton (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster) *
18 – Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution/Munster) *
19 – Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
20 – John Cooney (Lansdowne/Leinster) *
21 – Noel Reid (Clontarf/Leinster) *
22 – Brendan Macken (Blackrock College/Leinster) *

* Denotes uncapped player


Friday, June 7: Georgia v Emerging Ireland, Avchala Stadium, 7pm local time/4pm Irish time

Tuesday, June 11: Emerging Ireland v South Africa President’s XV, Avchala Stadium, 5pm local time/2pm Irish time

Sunday, June 16: Uruguay v Emerging Ireland, Avchala Stadium, 4pm local time/1pm Irish time