Flyhalf Burns earns first Ireland start against Georgia


  • Rugby
  • Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

(Reuters) - Flyhalf Billy Burns has been handed a first start for Ireland as they take on Georgia in their final Autumn Nations Cup Group A clash in Dublin on Sunday, while uncapped centre Shane Daly has been included on the bench.

Burns, 26, has two appearances as a replacement after making his debut earlier this month and it was his clever chip that set up a try for Jacob Stockdale last time out against England. He will play alongside experienced scrumhalf Conor Murray.

Stuart McCloskey will win a fourth cap at inside centre with Chris Farrell in the number 13 jersey, Stockdale at fullback, and Hugo Keenan and Keith Earls on the wings.

Captain James Ryan leads from the second row along with Iain Henderson, while in front of them is hooker Rob Herring, and props Finlay Bealham and Andrew Porter.

CJ Stander reverts to number eight at the back of the scrum, with flanks Tadhg Beirne and Will Connors.

Daly is on the bench and in line for a debut in what is a 5-3 split between forwards and backs.

If they are to top their pool, Ireland must hope that England suffer a surprise defeat to Wales in Llanelli on Saturday in the other Group A fixture, which could allow them to overtake Eddie Jones’ side with a bonus-point win.

They currently trail England by 39 on points difference – a figure that will be smaller should England lose – meaning that a hefty bonus-point win over a Georgian team yet to register a point could take them top.

Ireland have won all four previous meetings with Georgia, scoring 49 points or more in three of those games.

Ireland team:

15. Jacob Stockdale (Lurgan/Ulster) 31 caps

14. Hugo Keenan (UCD/Leinster) 4 caps

13. Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 12 caps

12. Stuart McCloskey (Bangor/Ulster) 3 caps

11. Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 86 caps

10. Billy Burns (UIster) 2 caps

9. Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 85 caps

1. Finlay Bealham (Buccaneers/Connacht) 13 caps

2. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 14 caps

3. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 30 caps

4. Iain Henderson (Academy/Ulster) 56 caps

5. James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 30 caps Captain

6. Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 16 caps

7. Will Connors (Leinster/UCD) 4 caps

8. CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 44 caps

Replacements

16. Dave Heffernan (Buccaneers/Connacht) 4 caps

17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 102 caps

18. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 21 caps

19. Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 14 caps

20. Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 71 caps

21. Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 27 caps

22. Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) 9 caps

23. Shane Daly (Cork Constitution/Munster) uncapped

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis)

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