Ireland scrum coach John Fogarty is braced for a relentless physical battle with Georgia and believes remaining calm, controlled and cohesive will be key to success.
The Irish are heavy favourites to return to winning ways in the Autumn Nations Cup against a team which is yet to register a point in the competition.
Head coach Andy Farrell has made a raft of changes for the final Group A fixture, naming an experimental line-up in the wake of last weekend’s disappointing loss to England.
Fogarty admits the hosts must be focused and united in order to bounce back from their Twickenham disappointment and avoid an upset against tenacious opposition.
“Up front, we’re expecting a robust, very physical team. There is a huge amount of experience in the front row alone but their pack and how they front up physically is a challenge in itself,” he said.
“They are a cohesive unit, and can be very dangerous, they’ve got lots of power. They’ve been in battles up to now and they fight the whole way through it.
“We’re expecting a battle up front and we’re prepared for one. We’re excited to see what’s going to happen. We need to make sure we’re nice and calm all the way through to make sure we can control things.
“We want to be a cohesive unit, we want to be as eight. A shared mentality in what we’re doing as well, not being distracted.”
Underdogs Georgia, beaten 40-0 by England and 18-0 by Wales, arrived in Dublin having lost each of the previous four meetings with Ireland.
The Irish, meanwhile, are searching for consistency under Farrell having twice been beaten by World Cup finalists England and once by France in his seven matches since succeeding Joe Schmidt.
Fogarty accepts lessons need to be learnt from last weekend’s fruitless trip to London, particularly with regard to set-piece failings.
“When you lose, the learnings are so important. How we’ve gone about our week in helping the lads to understand and us to growing as a group has been really good,” he said.
📄 𝗧𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗔𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 🟢
Andy Farrell has named his Ireland Match Day 23 for Sunday's #GuinnessSeries game against Georgia at @AVIVAStadium, with the uncapped Shane Daly included 🙌#ShoulderToShoulder #IrishRugby #AutumnNationsCup #IREvGEO pic.twitter.com/2sYaBjgxKO
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) November 26, 2020
“You’d hope to see some of the learnings tomorrow.
“Certainly around our set-piece, we want to make sure that we put out a good performance.
“In and around the drill in our line-out and around the bind phase in our scrum, they’re the two parts we’ve specifically looked at. There are other pieces in there as well.”
Ireland’s personnel changes include a full debut for fly-half Billy Burns and a first international appearance in two years for centre Stuart McCloskey.
Lock James Ryan will once again captain the team in the continued injury absence of Johnny Sexton, while Shane Daly could make his debut from the bench.