Scotland grind out tryless victory
INVERCARGILL, 15 Sept. - Scotland survived a tough tryless encounter against Georgia to win their second Pool B match 15-6 at Rugby Park Stadium on Wednesday.
The victory is the sixth tryless match in Rugby World Cup history. Scotland were also involved in the second tryless victory at RWC 1991, when they lost 9-6 to England in the semi-finals.
"We knew it was a forward battle and it was," said Scotland fly half Dan Parks. "We came here to win both games (in Invercargill).
"It would have been nice to get the bonus point," he added, expressing disappointment Scotland were unable to ground the ball where it counts in Georgian territory.
Georgia also had their opportunities but lacked the composure required at key moments to turn those chances into points.
"We really wanted to do great, but we lack a bit of something at each occasion," said Lelos inside centre Tedo Zibzibadze.
The Lelos conceded 14 penalties, more than double Scotland's total of six. Scotland's low penalty concession came about despite Georgia carrying the ball powerfully into their line in the first half, driving forward under the rain with a series of pick-and-go moves.
“That was the most disappointing factor for me and kept us on the back foot," said Georgia's Scottish coach Richie Dixon. “I was bitterly disappointed that we let Scotland off the hook at times."
The majority of the second half was played in Georgian territory with the ball in Scotland's hands as they searched for a breakthrough, but tries were not forthcoming.
"We defended very well, but we also didn’t get a try - it was a tough game," said Georgian centre David Kacharava.
Scotland hooker Ross Ford admitted the team had bolstered their defensive line in preparation for Georgia's strong forward pack.
"It's something we've worked on all week," he said. "It's a massive boost to our defence. We didn't concede too many penalties and we were strong up front."
Second row Jim Hamilton believes the team's ability to counter Georgia's forwards with an even stronger Scottish front line was key.
"We didn't want parity, we wanted to dominate," he said. "I'm absolutely exhausted. It was pretty brutal at times, but we were loving it out there."
His teammate and man of the match Kelly Brown also credited the victory to Parks, who scored all of Scotland's 15 points through four penalties and a drop goal.
“I’ve played with Dan for three seasons at Glasgow and he’s won us many games and he did that tonight for Scotland," said Brown.
But captain and scrum half Rory Lawson also said the team had not defeated the Georgians and the Romanians on their own terms.
"Today and Saturday were far from faultless, but at the same time this is cup rugby and it's about winning games," he said.
Scotland coach Andy Robinson had no problems with the lack of tries as long as his team secured their second Pool B win.
"We controlled the game, we controlled the touch," he said. "Sometimes you have to go this way. You have to win ugly."
Scotland have 10 days to reflect on their victory against Georgia before they meet Argentina at Wellington Regional Stadium on 25 September.