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Ireland's Rhys Ruddock fired up for physical battle with Georgia

By Matt McGeehan

Rhys Ruddock is relishing another physical battle with Georgia on Sunday after his starring role as a late-comer to Ireland's victory over South Africa.

The Leinster back-row, who turns 24 today, learned he would be starting at openside flanker at breakfast last Saturday morning after Ulster's Chris Henry suffered a severe migraine.

Ruddock seized his opportunity, scoring his first Ireland try on his fourth appearance, and now is looking ahead to taking on a pedigree Georgia pack with most experienced in France's Top 14.

"They want to get up, meet you head on and win the physical battle," Ruddock said.

"They've got some real threats on the ball who can punish you if you don't get your roles right.

"You have to meet it head on in the early stages of the game, don't let them build confidence in their perceived strength and after that hopefully have some ways to work outside of those lines and try to create a bit of space elsewhere.

"Hopefully we'll have some ways to break them down. If you're just going to run straight and hard at them all day, they'll be well able to defend.

"We need to come up with some ways to create some space."

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt found plenty to improve on after the Springboks display to ensure there will be no complacency on Sunday.

"Everyone's got a lot of respect for them," Ruddock added.

"Everyone's got a bit more confidence after a good win, but Joe's brought us back down to earth and the reality is we didn't perform to the best of our ability.

"It was a good win, but there's a lot more left in the tank.

"The focus now is on getting all of that out this weekend. We're hoping to improve our performance on last weekend," he explained.

Ruddock was thrust into the starting line-up after some time on the periphery with Ireland and Leinster.

"It was a little bit of a shock getting the start (but) I was more than ready," added Ruddock, who is more often a blindside flanker.

"I was happy to be starting, playing seven.

"I was able to narrow my focus and concentrate on that role," said the Dublin-born son of former Wales head coach Mike Ruddock.

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