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Shock defeat to Georgia leaves Irish U20s with relegation fight

Georgia Under-20s 24 Ireland Under-20s 20

By John Fallon

Ireland U20 coach Noel McNamara said they have no choice but to regroup and battle it out in the lower tier after a shock loss to Georgia last night at the World U20 Championship.

Ireland will now battle it out to avoid relegation to the World Trophy next week in their two concluding games as Georgia celebrated their first ever pool win in this competition.

And they were full value for their win, with Ireland's display camouflaged by two late tries.

"We scored two tries late, but it was too little too late. We are not interested in moral victories," said coach Noel McNamara.

"There were so many aspects of that game that were so frustrating for us. We conceded two tries either side of half-time.

"You give teams 14 points so easily like that. We had a number of opportunities; passed forward over the line, knocked-on over the line, double movement, got held up over the line b,ut we didn't do enough to win it."

Ireland didn't help their cause with basic errors and Georgia, precise in everything they did, punished them time and again.

Ireland found themselves 17-3 adrift after just 22 minutes, conceding a good try from lock Arsen Machaladze after 11 minutes and then a breakaway from his 22 by centre Sandro Svanidze, both converted by outstanding scrum-half Gela Aprasize.

Ireland got back into contention when Conor Dean finished off a nine-phase move to cut the gap to 17-8 at the interval.

But any hopes of a comeback disappeared four minutes after the restart when out-half Tedo Abzhandadze touched down.

It all summed up a frustrating and bitterly disappointing night for the Irish, who must regroup for the 9-12th place play-offs.

IRELAND: Sylvester; Sullivan, T O'Brien (McCarthy 45), Hume, S O'Brien; Dean (Byrne 57), O'Sullivan (Stewart 67); Duggan (O'Connor 71), Barron (Sheehan 71), Aungier (Wojtkowicz 71); Dalton (Daly 62), Dunne; Hall (Agnew 60), Daly, Doris.

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