The Emerging Ireland squad face their third match in the space of nine days as they look to sign off at the IRB Tbilisi Cup with a solid performance and victory over their Uruguayan opponents.
IRB TBILISI CUP: Sunday, June 16
URUGUAY v EMERGING IRELAND, Avchala Stadium, Tbilisi, 4pm local time/1pm Irish time (IRB live stream)
Team News: The Emerging Ireland team to play Uruguay in their final game of the IRB Tbilisi Cup on Sunday afternoon has been named.
Allen Clarke’s selected side shows four changes from their last outing in the Georgian capital which they lost 19-8 to the South Africa President’s XV.
Eoin Griffin makes his return to the starting line-up at outside centre, as does Rob Herring who is named at hooker.
David O’Callaghan joins fellow Munsterman David Foley in the second row and number 8 Eoin McKeon makes his first start of the tournament in place of Robbie Diack, who is unavailable due to a calf injury.
Sunday’s match will be streamed live on the IRB website, and sees the Irish youngsters bidding to end the competition on a winning note.
Emerging Ireland are third in the standings on four points – a point behind hosts Georgia, who face the table-topping South Africans in the final round. Uruguay are bottom and without a point after losing to the South Africans (37-9) and Georgia (27-3).
Meanwhile, the South Americans have made two personnel changes and three positional switches for their final pool clash.
Gaston Gubernau, Pablo Bueno and Joaquin Prada all retain their places in the back-line but switch positions. Arturo Avalo comes in at hooker and will captain the side. Juan de Freitas is named in the back row.
Victory for the South Africans (who boast nine points) will see them claim the inaugural IRB Tbilisi Cup, while Georgia and Emerging Ireland still have outside claims on the title.
If Georgia record a bonus point win and deny the President’s XV anything from the fixture they will claim the silverware. A regulation win may be enough too, if their opponents fail to pick up any form of bonus point and lose by more than 10 points.
To be crowned champions Emerging Ireland need a maximum five-point haul against Uruguay and hope Georgia overcome the table-topping South Africans but without picking up a bonus point in the process.
URUGUAY: Jeronimo Etcheverry; Gaston Gubernau, Leandro Leivas, Alberto Roman, Pablo Bueno; Joaquin Prada, Alejo Duran; Alejo Corral, Arturo Avalo (capt), Mario Sagario, Rodrigo Espiga, Franco Lamanna, Juan de Freitas, Fernando Bascou, Juan Gaminara.
Replacements: Nicolas Klappenbach, Rodolfo de Mula, Gaston Barburu, Jose Coronel, Juan Tasistro, Agustin del Castillo, German Albanell.
EMERGING IRELAND: David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster); Niall Morris (Leicester Tigers/Exile), Eoin Griffin (Galwegians/Connacht), Noel Reid (Clontarf/Leinster), Tiernan O’Halloran (Galwegians/Connacht); Ian Keatley (Young Munster/Munster), John Cooney (Lansdowne/Leinster); Jack McGrath (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster), Michael Bent (Leinster), David O’Callaghan (Dolphin/Munster), David Foley (UL Bohemians/Munster), Rhys Ruddock (St. Mary’s College/Leinster) (capt), Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster), Eoin McKeon (Galwegians/Connacht).
Replacements: Niall Annett (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Richard Lutton (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Ian Nagle (Cork Constitution/Munster), Dominic Ryan (Lansdowne/Leinster), Michael Heaney (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Brendan Macken (Blackrock College/Leinster), Peter Nelson (Dungannon/Ulster).
Pre-Match Quotes: Allen Clarke (Emerging Ireland head coach) – “We are looking to convert our chances on Sunday. We have created enough but have so far failed to convert our chances and that is what we have spent most of our time on this week.
“The Uruguayans have been passionate and physical all week and we expect the same from them in this final game.”
Pablo Lemoine (Uruguay head coach) – “We hope it will be a good game. It has been a tough 12 days for our young squad but we will learn from this experience.
“What we are keen to do on Sunday is switch up the attack between backs and forwards and see if we can challenge a strong Ireland side.”
Emerging Ireland Tbilisi Cup Results/Fixtures –
Friday, June 7: Georgia 15 Emerging Ireland 20, Avchala Stadium
Tuesday, June 11: Emerging Ireland 8 South Africa President’s XV 19, Avchala Stadium
Sunday, June 16: Uruguay v Emerging Ireland, Avchala Stadium, 4pm local time/1pm Irish time
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