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Emerging Ireland Squad Ready For Tbilisi Cup Tilt

Emerging Ireland Squad Ready For Tbilisi Cup Tilt

With the Rugby World Cup less than 100 days away, results and performances in the Tbilisi Cup and Nations Cup will take on extra significance for four of the competing teams.

Fringe senior squad players and emerging youngsters from four nations will be given the chance to put their hands up for RWC 2015 selection in Eastern Europe over the coming fortnight at both the World Rugby Nations Cup and Tbilisi Cup.

The Tbilisi Cup gets underway on Saturday in the Georgian capital that gave the competition its name and features Rugby World Cup-bound Georgia and Uruguay, with Emerging Ireland and Emerging Italy making up the four-team line-up.

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Emerging Ireland and Emerging Italy meet in the 5pm local time/2pm Irish time kick-off on Saturday with a number of players no doubt looking to put their hands up for selection.

Emerging Ireland coach Allen Clarke alluded to the fact that Rugby World Cup training squad places are still available and that this tournament gives players on the fringe of the senior squad a chance to stake their claim. 

“The tournament has been very profitable in determining the future of young men into the professional ranks and indeed the senior team,” he said. “We have been together for a week and the squad has gelled together pretty well.

“Our purpose is two-fold. In the short term there are a number of players who will be putting their hands up for the World Cup squad, a number of positions have been kept open, with a number of players looking to break into that squad. In the longer term we are looking at the development of all the players against good opposition.”

Emerging Italy boss Umberto Casellato is more focused on developing a squad capable of competing at RWC 2019 in Japan. “This is our second time in Tbilisi and the squad are looking forward to the tournament,” he explained.

“We have brought a young squad made up of players playing in the domestic league in Italy. The tournament will act as a development tool for these young players and allow them a chance to grow into international rugby with an eye on the 2019 Rugby World Cup.”

Meanwhile, Georgia head coach Milton Haig, who will lead his side into battle against New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Namibia in Pool C at RWC 2015 later this year, is looking forward to blooding some new talent with the majority of his French-based stars rested.

“This is great preparation for us and allows us to add another level of player to the group. We have new guys who will be making their debuts in this tournament and that’s because we have looked at positional strengths and have identified that in certain positions where we are lighter, we want to ensure players are ready to step in if required later in the year,” he admitted.

“At the end of the competition the players get a week off and then it is into Rugby World Cup camp, so this is the start of a very busy three months.”

Uruguay supremo Pablo Lemoine knows this tournament will serve as a good indicator ahead of Rugby World Cup squad selection, stating: “This competition comes at a good time for us as we get closer to making a decision on the Rugby World Cup squad. We have brought players here to develop and improve and to see if they have the potential to play at the World Cup.

“We have three really tough games here, starting with Georgia on Saturday. It will be very physical and give us a really good idea of where we are leading into the World Cup.”

All of the 2015 Tbilisi Cup matches will be streamed live online here via the Georgian Rugby Union website.

Emerging Ireland Squad Named For Tbilisi Cup

2015 Tbilisi Cup – Ticket Details


Saturday, June 13 –

Emerging Italy v Emerging Ireland, Avchala Stadium, 5pm local time/2pm Irish time
Georgia v Uruguay, Avchala Stadium, 7pm local time

Wednesday, June 17 –

Uruguay v Emerging Ireland, Avchala Stadium, 5pm local time/2pm Irish time
Georgia v Emerging Italy, Avchala Stadium, 7pm local time

Sunday, June 21 –

Uruguay v Emerging Italy, Avchala Stadium, 5pm local time
Georgia v Emerging Ireland, Avchala Stadium, 7pm local time/4pm Irish time