GLOUCESTER, 25 Sept – Captain Mamuka Gorgodze conceded he was partly to blame for the team's fadeout after his second-half sin-bin reduced Georgia to 14 men and preceded an Argentina onslaught at Kingsholm on Friday night.
The towering number eight, who was an influential figure in the Lelos victory over Tonga six days earlier, was shown yellow as he looked to have fallen off his feet at the breakdown during a period of Pumas possession three minutes into the second half.
Argentina scored three tries during his absence, and seven overall, to earn their first victory in the tournament. The bonus-point win lifts them off the bottom of Pool C following their defeat by the All Blacks last week, and one point above Georgia.
“I want to see it again but I think the referee’s always right,” Gorgodze said. “I shouldn’t have made that decision to do that.”
Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade praised his team, who ran in six tries in the second half.
“Obviously one player down – and the captain – this was very hard for Georgia and we took advantage of those minutes,” Hourcade said. “When he came back, we had the confidence we needed in our game and that’s what we did.
“We will follow this path – the path we have chosen and wanted. We have had experiences like this when we have done good things and relaxed so we will have to carry on.”
Tries from Tomas Lavanini, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Cordero (two, pictured above), Juan Imhoff (two), and replacement Martin Landajo completed the rout and were complemented by an impressive kicking display from fly-half Nicolas Sanchez, who racked up 19 points.
Sanchez broke the deadlock early on with a close-range drop-goal before sending Tomas Lavanini ambling over from five metres out, but the Pumas conceded seven penalties before the break, three of which were converted by Georgia full-back Merab Kvirikashvili.
With the score 14-9 at half-time, the Lelos were in contention for another shock victory following their earlier heroics in Gloucester.
But within three minutes of the restart, the Europeans' hopes suffered a blow when captain Gorgodze was sent to the bin for his infringement at the breakdown.