Holland injury takes shine off encouraging Irish victory
Emerging Ireland 45 Georgia 12
Published 22/06/2015 | 02:30
Billy Holland had to discard his crutches to lift the trophy at Avchala Stadium after succumbing to a captain's curse in Tbilisi.
Holland took the armband from Rhys Ruddock, who broke his arm in the previous match, for this final game against hosts Georgia, only to roll his ankle after barely two minutes.
The Munster lock briefly played on after treatment, during which time Georgia took the lead through Beziers No 8 Lasha Lomidze, before hobbling off in pain.
"We don't know the extent of the injury yet. He went over on his ankle so we'll have to wait and see what comes from the scans when we get back home," said Emerging XV coach Allen Clarke.
It was the last thing Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt wanted to see just moments after arriving.
However, he left far happier after watching a team of youngsters and World Cup hopefuls weather an early Georgian storm before turning on the style in a second-half blitz of their own.
"It was great to have Joe here. He was satisfied with what we achieved in winning the tournament, but more important was the performance," said Clarke.
Stephen Archer, Dan Leavy and Jack Conan will have impressed Schmidt after muscling up to some stiff opposition.
JJ Hanrahan kicked seven from seven while wings Matt Healy and Andrew Conway were dangerous. Centre Stuart McCloskey also came through a physical encounter well.
Georgia also lost their captain, Levan Datunashvili, in the opening minutes with his side ahead 5-0, and Ireland took the lead before half-time through a penalty try when their driving maul was pulled down short of the line.
Once Ireland's pack had absorbed the worst, their backs proved lethal, particularly on the counter-attack. Healy and Eoghan Masterson crossed early in the second-half.
Georgia replied through a trademark lineout drive but three tries in eight minutes, for John Cooney, Conway and Finlay Bealham, capped a resounding second-half display.
Georgia - B Tsiklauri; A Khutsishvili, R Gigauri, T Mtchedlidze, G Pruidze (I Svanidze 58); M Ninidze, G Begadze (V Khutsishvili 63); Z Zhvania, S Maisuradze (J Bregvadze 48), A Peikrishvili (I Mirtskhulava 48), L Datunashvili (capt, O Giorgadze 8), K Mikautadze, B Bitsadze, L Lomidze S Shubitidze 30), G Chkhaidze.
Emerging Ireland - T O'Halloran; A Conway, N Reid (P Nelson 68), S McCloskey (E Griffin 58), M Healy; JJ Hanrahan, L McGrath (J Cooney h-t); J Cronin (D Buckley, HT), R Herring (D Herrernan 73), S Archer (F Bealham 73), B Marshall (F Taggart 70), B Holland (capt, A Browne 7), E Masterson, D Leavy, J Conan.
Ref - M Raynal (France)