Autumn Nations Cup: Ireland v Georgia – time, channel, talking points

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Billy Burns has been handed a chance to shine. Photo: PA Wire/PA Images
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By Ed Elliot, PA

Ireland host Georgia on Sunday afternoon as the Autumn Nations Cup pool phase reaches a conclusion.

Here are some of the key talking points heading into the Dublin showdown, along with details on where to watch.

Set-piece struggles

Ireland were comfortably beaten by England last weekend. Photo: Adam Davy/PA

Ireland go into the game searching for a response to a disappointing fourth successive loss to rivals England.

Set-piece errors undermined the quest for glory at Twickenham as Eddie Jones’ World Cup finalists cruised to victory.

Line-out calls and binding at the scrum have been worked on significantly in the build up to the game.

Head coach Andy Farrell will be eager to see considerable improvements in those areas against physical opponents.

Farrell searching for squad depth

Ireland’s form has been patchy since Farrell took over from Joe Schmidt after last year’s World Cup. The Englishman, who has lost three of his opening seven games, has named an experimental line-up for this weekend’s Test, making nine changes to the team which started in London.

Farrell is desperate to expand the player pool at his disposal and gain “priceless experience” within it.

With transition comes setbacks, and Farrell has warned the public may have to remain patient and continue to endure some “growing pains”.

Big opportunity for Burns

With veteran fly-half Johnny Sexton in the twilight of his career and currently injured, coach Farrell is particularly desperate for options for the number 10 jersey.

Billy Burns has been given the nod this weekend on what will be his full debut and been challenged by Farrell to “run the show”.

Burns will be eager to build on his impressive Twickenham cameo and push himself ahead of rival Ross Byrne in the battle to become Sexton’s long-term successor.

Centre of attention

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Stuart McCloskey, who made his debut during the 2016 Six Nations, is set to return from the international wilderness. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

The raft of personnel changes has also afforded a fresh chance for Stuart McCloskey. Ulster centre McCloskey has been patiently awaiting an opportunity since winning the last of his three previous caps more than two years ago.

While the 28-year-old is understandably keen to make up for lost time and stake a claim for a regular midfield spot, Farrell has urged him not to be “too desperate” to impress.

Pointless Georgia

Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze wants more efficiency from his team. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

Georgia will run out at the Aviva Stadium having so far failed to register a point in the competition. A 40-0 thumping against England was followed by an 18-0 defeat to Wales.

The Lelos have also lost each of their four previous clashes with Ireland, most recently 49-7 in November 2014. Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze has called on his team to be less wasteful with their opportunities as they bid to spring a surprise.

When is it?

The games kicks off at 3pm on Sunday, November 29th.

How can I watch it?

All of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Cup fixtures are being shown free-to-air by RTÉ and Channel 4 – Sunday's match is on RTÉ One.

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