As he gave his reaction afterwards, prop Dave Kilcoyne savoured the moment that his early second half try opened the floodgates for Ireland in their 49-7 GUINNESS Series triumph over Georgia.
It was Ireland’s second win of the series after their victory over South Africa last week and Dave Kilcoyne, one of two front rowers to cross the whitewash, felt it was important to back up the result against the Springboks.
“It was good to get a win, especially backing up the South African win. The high of last week, it is easy to get lost and not prepare as well as you should but everyone did and the collective played well tonight,” said the man known to his team-mates as ‘Killer’.
“We looked at Georgia and if you look at any of their games against tier 1 nations, they really stick in there for 50 to 60 minutes. It is only at the end that teams tend to break them. It was evident again tonight.
“They’re a real physical side, especially their maul contest, scrum, they’re quite physical and it was always going to take that. We knew we needed to back our fitness. That was the main thing.”
It was Kilcoyne’s third start for Ireland and 12th cap overall, and it is clear the Limerick man relishes playing for his country.
Having scored tries against Sale Sharks and Saracens for Munster in two European Champions Cup successes last month, the loosehead continued to carry a try-scoring threat against Georgia and deservedly picked up his first international try.
“Anytime you are representing your country, it’s a big honour. My whole family were there today. I know it’s a big occasion for them and a huge occasion for me. It is a big honour.
“It (his try) happened pretty quick. Happy to get the end of it but Reddser (Eoin Reddan) took a great line, and again great lines by the forwards. If you are the end of a try, it is always good.
“You’ve just got to buy into the system and again, it’s the collective. We have a saying here, ‘you try and make everyone’s job easier’. That is the goal. You work as hard as you can to make the fella’s job beside you easier and that is what we all try and do.”
Barely two minutes after the restart, Kilcoyne claimed the first of Ireland’s six tries and the second soon followed as hooker Richardt Strauss made it over from a lineout maul in the right corner.
While Georgia responded with a converted effort from lock Giorgi Nemsadze who got between Kilcoyne and Dave Foley before brushing off Reddan’s challenge, Ireland upped the ante once more as their fitness told during the final quarter.
“The first 50-60 minutes were incredibly difficult. They were a very physical side. It was going to take time to break them, but we did. We backed our fitness. We said what we were going to do. Thankfully that paid off.
“It was a hugely physical game. It did take us to the 50-minute mark to break them. That will stand to us going into next week. Australia pose a different threat, they have threats all over the park. We really have to knuckle down tomorrow, get our homework done.”
Much of the pre-game talk was of the powerful presence of the Georgian pack and despite getting the upper hand in a few early scrums, with Mike Ross penalised on a couple of occasions, the Irish eight turned the tables in the set piece as the game progressed.
“I felt really comfortable there (in the scrums). That side, Mike, it is down to the interpretation of the referee. I will have a look at it and see. Anytime you give away a penalty it’s frustrating.
“It’s something we work really hard on here to paint positive pictures. We did that for the majority of the game. There, towards the end, it would have been interesting if we let that scrum play on in the five-metre. We would have probably got a penalty try.”
Commenting on the Wallabies ahead of next Saturday’s showdown, Kilcoyne added: “If you look at it, they scrum well, (flanker and captain Michael) Hooper is in the form of his life. We are going to have a really difficult day in the office. We will of course (be able to go after them in the scrum).”