Georgia withstood a late onslaught to claim a thrilling 21-17 win against the USA in Kennesaw on Saturday.
Despite the close finish, Georgia were fully deserving of their victory against the hosts, who suffered a second consecutive defeat after losing to Ireland last week.
Georgia led 18-3 at half-time, thanks to a try and two penalties by star fullback Merab Kvirikashvili and a penalty try. In that period, the USA were also reduced to 14 after Chris Baumann was yellow-carded for repeated infringement.
Kvirikashvili knocked over a third penalty after the restart to extend Georgia’s advantage, but for the best part of the second half the visitors had to call on their defensive abilities to curb the probing USA attack.
The hosts eventually did cross for two tries – by wing Nate Augspurger and replacement lock Matthew Jensen – but it came too late in the game to overturn Georgia’s lead.
USA – Tries: Nate Augspurger, Matthew Jensen. Conversions: AJ MacGinty (2). Penalty: MacGinty.
Georgia – Tries: Merab Kvirikashvili, penalty try. Conversion: Automatic conversion. Penalties: Kvirikashvili (3).
USA – 15 Mike Te’o, 14 Matai Leuta, 13 Bryce Campbell, 12 AJ MacGinty, 11 Nate Augspurger, 10 Will Magie, 9 Shaun Davies, 8 Cam Dolan, 7 Tony Lamborn, 6 Todd Clever (c), 5 Ben Landry, 4 Nate Brakeley, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 Tony Purpura.
Subs: 16 Peter Malcolm, 17 Ben Tarr, 18 Dino Waldren, 19 Matthew Jensen, 20 Andrew Durutalo, 21 Ben Cima, 22 Marcel Brache, 23 Ryan Matyas.
Georgia – 15 Merab Kvirikashvili, 14 Giorgi Koshadze, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze (c), 11 Sandro Todua, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Bitsadze, 7 Vito Kolelishvili, 6 Lasha Lomidze, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Subs: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Tornike Mataradze, 18 Soso Bekoshvili, 19 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 20 Otar Giorgadze, 21 Giorgi Begadze, 22 Lasha Malaghiradze, 23 Giorgi Tsutskiridze.