Ireland v Georgia: Darren Cave aims to grab Irish chance

Darren Cave ready to grab unexpected Irish chance against Georgia
Autumn international - Ireland v Georgia
Date: Sunday 16 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT Venue: Aviva Stadium
Coverage: Live commentary on Radio Ulster FM and the BBC Sport website

Darren Cave admits it is time to "stop complaining and start playing well" after being named in the Ireland side to face Georgia on Sunday.

The Ulster centre was on holiday in New York while Ireland shocked South Africa last weekend only to be called into Joe Schmidt's squad on Sunday night.

Cave, 27, lamented his limited Test chances last year but is now determined to grab his chance in Sunday's game.

"Hopefully I can go well and put the issues of the past to rest," he said.

"It's important not to feel sorry for yourself: just keep improving, improving and improving.

"When I first got in the squad in 2009 I was just there because I was a young lad, I hadn't really done a lot but I'd played okay and was maybe someone for the future.

Darren Cave factfile
1987: Born, 5 April Belfast, Northern Ireland
2005: Joins Ulster Rugby's Academy
2007: Makes Ulster debut and wins Grand Slam with Ireland U20s
2009: Ireland debut against Canada
2012: Plays for Ireland against All Blacks on summer tour
2013: Wonders if his face doesn't fit with Ireland after omission from autumn Tests
2014: Wins his seventh Ireland cap against Argentina

"I feel I have improved a lot in those five or six years, and that was probably what can be frustrating.

"But now here's an opportunity for me to stop complaining and start playing well."

Ireland head coach Schmidt hotly refuted influencing provincial selection last month, after suggestions the national set-up had urged UIster to switch Jared Payne from full-back to outside centre.

Former New Zealand Under-21 cap Payne claimed his first Ireland cap in last weekend's win over the Springboks but hobbled off in the closing stages with a foot sprain.

Payne's injury has opened the door for Cave's recall, with Schmidt making 13 changes from last weekend's starting side.

The New Zealand native's switch to outside centre has limited Cave's opportunities at Ulster this season, but the seven-cap midfielder is keen to lay all his frustration to rest.

Previous Ireland v Georgia meetings
1998: Ireland 70-0 Georgia - World Cup qualifier, Lansdowne Road
2002: Ireland 63-14 Georgia - World Cup qualifier, Lansdowne Road
2007: Ireland 14-10 Georgia - World Cup, Bordeaux

Gearing up for his first Ireland Test on home soil, Cave admitted he was surprised to be drafted back into the squad on Sunday.

"It was only two or three weeks ago I was on the phone to Joe, talking about how I wasn't going to be involved in the camp week.

"Then I got a phone call from him on Sunday saying come on in to camp and I'm thrown in to play there.

"I'm delighted. It's a bit more unorthodox than normal but I'm ready to play.

"I've never been capped in Ireland before, and growing up since I was knee-high watching games at Lansdowne Road, this is a big day for me and my family."