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?Ireland booked their place in the World Rugby Under20 Championship after a hard fought 35-7 bonus-point win over 14-man Georgia in Manchester.
The result means that Ireland progress to the semi-finals of the competition for the second time, but it wasn’t as straight forward as most had predicted after the historic victory over New Zealand on Saturday.
The Georgians started with a real purpose and they shocked Ireland when skipped Vasil Lobzhanidze crossed for the first try after just five minutes. Out-half David Modzgvrishvili then added the conversion to give his side a 7-0.
However, the lead didn’t last long as underdogs were unable to sustain their early pace and pressure as Ireland drew level, before Georgia were reduced to 14 men after just eight minutes.
Hugo Keenan raced over in the corner for Ireland’s first try of the day, before Johnny McPhilips kicked the conversion.
The referee, though, saw some foul play in the build-up to the try and after consulting with his TMO, he sent-off blindside flanker Ilia Spanderashvili for kicking out at a ruck.
Ireland struggled to capitalise on their numerical advantage immediately as Georgia showed their battling qualities.
But once McPhilips kicked Ireland into the lead with two penalties, they were never going to lose the game.
The out-half, who was superb throughout, then crossed for Ireland’s second try on the stroke of half-time and again added the conversion to make it 20-7 at the break.
Again, though, Ireland found it difficult at the beginning of the second period and it wasn’t until the 54th minute that McPhilips extended the lead with another penalty.
The number 10 was involved again five minutes later when a flowing move ended with Terry Kennedy scoring Ireland’s third try of the game.
The young Irish side then had a try disallowed before the finally grabbed the all-important bonus-point with the final play of the game when replacement prop Andrew Porter crossed to seal the win.