Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

We'll show our class: Dempsey

Girvan Dempsey must have cut a frustrated figure watching from full-back as Ireland's vaunted backline made blunder after blunder during last Sunday's highly-unconvincing victory over Namibia.

The Leinster star was one of the few players to catch the eye, making a number of incisive breaks in the first half as Ireland threatened to pull away with the game before withdrawing into their shells as Namibia raised their heckles.



Ireland's Mr Consistency, who has long made the full-back position his own after winning the battle with Geordan Murphy, takes little satisfaction from his own performance however.

Instead, his sole objective is to help the team make amends for their stuttering start with a big performance against Georgia tonight (kick-off 8pm BST) at the Stade Chaban Delmas in Bordeaux.



"The big thing that everyone was shocked about was the number of errors that we did make against Namibia," said Dempsey, who will win his 77th cap tonight.



"To make double the amount of handling errors that we would normally do in a Six Nations match was astounding to us. There were a lot of nerves and apprehension in the changing room before we went out on to the pitch and it translated into our play when we tried to force things.



"We expected scores and breaks off first phase and it just didn't happen and the nerves escalated from there. In a wet night in Sydney we put 70 points on them and I am sure people were wondering why we couldn't do it again in perfect handling conditions in Bordeaux."



His captain, Brian O'Driscoll, said Dempsey was the only Irish player not to make any mistakes against Namibia. But consistency is far from the only string to his bow.



"I pride myself on doing the basics right, cutting out errors and trying to build my game from there," he added. "But like any player, you are always trying to develop new areas and sides to your game.



"Concentration is key. At full-back you can be out of the play for a while and you have to keep focused and an eye on the opposition to see if they are giving away any triggers that you have seen in videos in terms of their attack or where they are going to kick the ball."



And Dempsey is in no doubt that Ireland will finally blow away the rust and cobwebs against Georgia tonight to get their World Cup campaign back on track.



"There has been a buzz back in training this week," he added. " I think there was just one ball-dropping in the session on Tuesday and guys were still trying offloads but were making sure they picked their targets and the appropriate time to do it.



"We have also had a chat as a squad and we feel confident that, if we can cut the basic errors out, we can perform if we play with the intensity we know we can.



"The key thing is our mental approach. There are going to be nerves again because of the performance last week. But if we can go out there early on and build our way into the game, you'll see a different side.



"I don't think we brought Namibia through more than four phases and that's one thing you have to do with the perceived weaker opposition is wear them down and the holes will open up then."







Ireland: G Dempsey, S Horgan, B O'Driscoll (capt), G D'Arcy, D Hickie, R O'Gara, P Stringer, M Horan, R Best, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, S Easterby, D Leamy, D Wallace.







Replacements: J Flannery, N Best, M O'Kelly, S Best, I Boss, P Wallace, G Murphy.







Georgia: O Barkalaia, G Elizbarashvili, R Gigauri, D Kacharava, G Shkinin, M Kvirikashvili, B Samkharadze; M Magrakvelidze, G Shvelidze, A Kopaliani, I Zedginidze (capt), M Gorgodze, I Maisuradze, R Urushadze, G Chkhaidze.







Replacements: A Giorgadze, D Khinchagashvili, L Datunashvili, Z Maisuradze, I Abuseridze, M Urjukashvili, O Eloshvili.







Referee: Wayne Barnes, England.

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