Georgia's forwards too strong for Uruguay

Uruguay are brought back to earth as Pool D rivals Georgia surge to bonus-point victory.

KUMAGAYA, 29 Sep - Georgia's front five brought Uruguay back to earth by laying the foundations for a powerhouse 33-7 victory in their Pool D game at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium

The South Americans' celebrations after upsetting Fiji must have seemed a world away as they had no answer to Georgia's big men.

 "I am very pleased - it's a great memory for my career," said player-of-the-match Otari Giorgadze. "But the match was not won by one person; everybody played well and we won together.
"Everyone gave 100 per cent. We made some errors, we didn't play very well at times. It was so hot and so hard to play out there."

After five minutes, Georgia opened up their rivals, with the livewire Gela Aprasidze dodging and weaving his way downfield and feeding player-of-the-match Otari Giorgadze, the Georgia number eight, who was pulled down within sight of the line.

With a virtually new line-up, Georgia had more urgency and drove forward relentlessly throughout the opening exchanges. 

They were able to sustain momentum through a succession of penalties and, from a scrum in the eighth minute, with advantage played, they spun it wide for an unmarked winger Alexander Todua to cross easily. 

Georgia looked likely to cross again after full-back Lasha Khmaladze launched a massive kick to give his side a lineout well inside the Uruguay 22, but they were thwarted when they conceded a penalty for an infringement in the contact area.

The biggest worry for Uruguay was their front five failing to match the dominant Georgia pack. Georgia forced one penalty after another at the scrum, and the referee warned the South Americans they were on the brink of losing a player to the sin-bin.

It was no surprise when Georgia's second try came after 29 minutes, Giorgadze powering his way over under the posts, and Tedo Abzhandadze this time adding the extras.

Uruguay responded in style, Rodrigo Silva running the angle and Andres Vilaseca backing up brilliantly to post their first points in the 33rd minute, with Felipe Bercesi converting.

The usual sharp-shooter Berchesi failed with a difficult chance to cut the deficit to two with a penalty just before the break, at which the Georgians led 12-7.

Georgia extended their lead minutes into the second half, with the referee not having to consult the TMO when Levan Chilachava grounded the ball in the corner and Abzhandadze sent a difficult conversion straight through the uprights. At 19-7, Georgia were in control.

Uruguay, who had only four days between matches, were starting to wilt in the heat and Georgia had their bonus-point try in the 50th minut. Captain Jaba Bregvadze scored and Abzhandadze converted to make it 26-7.

When the fifth try came in the 58th minute there was no coming back from Uruguay, with Silva making a mess of a kick and Giorgi Kveseladze cashing in for another converted score. Shortly afterwards, Zura Dzneladze lost control of the ball over the line under pressure from Santiago Arata. 

It summed up Uruguay's day when they finished the match a man down, replacement Facundo Gattas being shown a red card for a high tackle on Shalva Sutiashvili.

Georgia coach Milton Haig said he knew it would be a challenging turnaround for Uruguay. "It was a fantastic effort by Uruguay (beating Fji) and we just knew that, with a four-day turnaround, it was always going to be tough to last 80 minutes," he said. "We kept doing what we were doing and thought they would tire in the second half.”

RNS mj/bo