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Throwback To Georgia’s Near Miss vs Ireland At RWC 2007

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Monday Nov 21, 2022

Georgian Rugby has continued to roar in recent years making incredible strides both on an off the pitch.

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Having for so long been the forgotten power in Europe, Georgia are riding high having taken the scalps of both Italy and Wales in recent fixtures.

Whilst these results are unparalleled in their colourful history, it is worth remembering just how close they have previously come to knocking some of the games traditional big guns.

Casting our memories back to 2007 when Ireland were in the midst of yet another Rugby World Cup hell, the Lelos came within a whisker of compounding Irish issues.

Ireland came into the tournament as one of the favourites to make a deep run with a starting XV as good as just about any at the tournament.

Names such as String, O’Gara, O’Driscoll, O’Connell and O’Callaghan were in their pomp as expectations weighed heavy.

By all accounts however it was not a happy Irish camp starting with the hotel which players have described as “concrete prison on a roundabout” far away from any of the World Cup festivities.

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Thus, the stage was set for an upset. Having battled past a largely amateur Namibian team whilst Georgia was getting tonked by eventual semi-finalist Argentina, Ireland were clearly in a bad place.

As the first half trudged towards its midpoint Ireland finally got on the board courtesy of Rory Best with an O’Gara conversion nerves were settled ever so slightly.

Unfortunately for Ireland this would be about as relaxing as it would get as Georgia began a siege that saw them come roaring back into the game.

Firstly, it was a penalty kick which was then followed by an intercept try which had the Georgian’s staring down a historic victory.

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Luckily for Ireland they would manage to battle their way over the line thanks to fullback Gordan Dempsey which again O’Gara converted in the 55th minute.

The final 25 minutes were a slog as Ireland battled back wave after wave of Georgian ball carriers.

Whilst they may have fallen short, the seed of a potential Tier One nation was certainly planted.

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