Tries from Andrew Conway, John Cooney, Cian Kelleher and a penalty try in the first half and a second half score from Ben Marshall saw Allen Clarke's side to a 33-7 victory against Uruguay, handing them an unassailable six-point lead over Georgia and Emerging Italy heading into Sunday's final fixtures.
Emerging Ireland have now won back-to-back tournaments in Eastern Europe, adding the Tbilisi Cup title to the Nations Cup crown they won in Bucharest last year.
The Irish were on the scoreboard after five minutes with Conway crossing the whitewash. The Munster winger was brought into the starting line-up as a late replacement for Matt Healy after the Connacht winger was ruled out with a stomach bug.
Scrum-half John Conney had his side's second try five minutes later, sniping from the ruck and exploiting the lack of Uruguayan defenders. With the conversion Emerging Ireland led 12-0.
The clinical Irish showed no signs of easing up in attack as they crossed for a third try on 14 minutes. Winger Cian Kelleher was on the end of some fine handling by the Irish backs to run in at the corner. Rory Scannell kicked his second conversion to make it 19-0.
It took 20 minutes for the the South Americans to get into the contest as they finally managed to get some possession and territory. However. the Irishmen's tenacity in defence and fast line speed managed to deny Uruguay scoring opportunities.
Ill-discipline cost Uruguay just before the break and allowed the Irish to secure the try bonus point. Reduced to 14 men for a cynical infringement, Uruguay found themselves under the pump at a five-metre scrum and the Irish were awarded a penalty try. Scannell kicked his third conversion to make the score 26-0 at half-time.
The second half was dominated by Uruguay. They created a lot of chances and were held up over the Irish line on two occasions. Eventually they got their reward with a penalty try from a well-set scrum which the Irish couldn't handle. Agustin Ormaechea kicked the conversion to make it 26-7.
The Irish had the final say though with a try in stoppage time, Kelleher making an incisive break before finding Marshall on his shoulder with an inside pass. Marshall dotted down under the posts andScannell converted to make the final score 33-7.
"The two halves were total opposites. The first half we were pretty happy with what we produced, scoring some good tries in the process and the second half we weren't the same team," said Clarke.
"We needed to keep hold of the ball for more phases and respect the values of the game and we didn't do that. We have started the first half well in both games, we just need to look at our second half performance and address that ahead of our final match with Georgia."
A despondent Pablo Lemoine was left frustrated with his side's performance after the match. "We defended for long periods in the first half and it took away a lot our energy. In the second half I think that affected us when we had scoring opportunities, as the players were tired. We will be better in the next match for this experience, but we need to make sure we maintain our discipline," he said.
Italians upset Georgia
Emerging Italy inflicted a 26-10 defeat on the hosts Georgia in the evening's second match at Avchala Stadium to ensure Emerging Ireland of the Tbilisi Cup.
Two second half tries and 16 points off the boot of fly-half Carlo Canna sealed a victory that stunned the 2,200-strong crowd.
The Georgian's lost a couple of players to injury, including influential fly-half Lasha Malaguradze in the early stages, but they still would have expected more from the game.
The only points of a disjointed first half came from the boots of Carlo Canna and Lasha Malaguradze, who kicked a penalty apiece in the opening 10 minutes.
The Italians took the lead early into the second half with a well-taken drop goal from fly-half Canna, before the Lelos enjoyed a period in the ascendency only for their handling to let them down at crucial times.
Simone Marinaro scored the first try of the game and it was well worth waiting for. Back row forward Emiliano Caffini made the initial break and the ball was then passed between backs and forwards before Marinaro got his hands on the ball and sprinted over. Canna added the conversion to put daylight between the teams at 13-3.
The young Italian fly-half kicked his second penalty before Maxime Mbanda' bundled his way over for a try in the corner showing great power to beat the attempted tackle. Canna's difficult conversion went over off the posts and suddenly the score was 23-3.
Italy went further ahead with three minutes to go through another well-struck Canna penalty goal.
Deep into injury-time the home team grabbed a consolation when big prop forward Anton Peikrishvili forced his way over. Beka Tsiklauri's conversion made the final score 26-10.
After the match Milton Haig, Georgia's head coach, expressed his disappointment with the result. "Our first half was pretty slow and then when our main fly-half went off we lost our organisation slightly, so that didn't help," he said. "We then picked up other injuries so by the end it was a makeshift back line.
"I won't take anything away from Emerging Italy, I thought they played very well and they caught us out a few times. The good news is we have another match on Sunday so we can't really dwell on this too much. We have to prepare as well as we can for the match with Ireland."
Emerging Italy Manager, Andrea Duodo, was delighted with his team's result. "I'm very proud of my boy's performance," he said. "We asked two things of them; to concentrate and to go out there and enjoy themselves. It was a tough game but our players stepped up to the challenge and we are so happy with the win."
Emerging Ireland meet Georgia on Sunday with Uruguay coming up against Emerging Italy.
Round Three - Sunday 21 June
Uruguay v Emerging Italy 17:00
Georgia v Emerging Ireland 19:00
Emerging Italy 0-25 Emerging Ireland
Georgia 19-10 Uruguay
Uruguay 7-33 Emerging Ireland
Georgia 10-26 Emerging Italy
Photo credit: Gogita Bukhaidze