Georgia emphatically denied Uruguay a second upset at the World Cup with a comfortable 33-7 bonus point victory in Kumagaya on Sunday.
In only their second-ever meeting at a World Cup – after Uruguay’s 24-12 win in Sydney 16 years ago – the South American minnows struggled to overcome their more physical opponents.
Uruguay would have come into the match brimming with confidence following the historic victory over Fiji in their opening Pool D fixture.
Ranked seven places below the Georgians, captain Juan Manuel Gaminara and his team could not replicate the heroics of their shock win over the Pacific Islanders, with Georgia running in five tries to claim a bonus-point win.
Following their first half no-show against the Welsh a week ago, Georgia coach Milton Haig made 12 changes to his starting side, whose scrum superiority laid the platform for the victory.
The decision to make changes proved effective with a succession of penalties awarded to the Lelos, after early scrum dominance from the considerably heavier Georgian pack. First half tries from left wing Alexander Todua and eighthman Otari Giorgadze came as a result of persistent scrum pressure from the Georgians.
However, Uruguay grew into the game and replied through centre Andres Vilaseca, who cantered over to bring the plucky South Americans back into the contest. Georgia led 12-7 heading into half-time.
Their scrum dominance continued after the break before tighthead Levan Chilachava muscled his way over the line from close range.The bonus-point was secured with additional second half tries from captain Jaba Bregvadze and the opportunistic Giorgi Kveseladze.
Undoubtedly struggling with fatigue after their match against Fiji – combined with the sweltering conditions – Uruguay battled to cope with the physicality and scrum dominance of the Georgians.
Replacement hooker Facundo Gattas’ red card late on – the second of the World Cup – further added to the disappointment of the Uruguayans.
With Uruguay still to face Australia and Wales, and Georgia taking on the Wallabies and winless Fijians in their final two pool games, the Lelos and Los Teros look set to compete for third place in Pool D, to secure automatic qualification to the 2023 World Cup in France.
Georgia – Tries: Alexander Todua, Otari Giorgadze, Levan Chilachava, Jaba Bregvadze, Giorgi Kveseladze. Conversions: Tedo Abzhandadze (4).
Uruguay – Tries: Andres Vilaseca. Conversions: Felipe Berchesi.
Georgia – 15 Lasha Khmaladze, 14 Zura Dzneladze, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Lasha Malaguradze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Gela Aprasidze, 8 Otari Giorgadze, 7 Beka Saginadze, 6 Shalva Sutiashvili, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Lasha Lomidze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Jaba Bregvadze (c), Guram Gogichashvili.
Subs: 16 Vano Karkadze, 17 Beka Gigashvili, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Mamuka Gorgodze, 20 Beka Gorgadze, 21 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 22 Merab Sharikadze, 23 Soso Matiashvili.
Uruguay –15 Gaston Mieres, 14 Nicolas Freitas, 13 Juan Manuel Cat, 12 Andres Vilaseca, 11 Rodrigo Silva, 10 Felipe Berchesi, 9 Santiago Arata, 8 Alejandro Nieto, 7 Santiago Civetta, 6 Juan Manuel Gaminara (c), 5 Manuel Leindekar, 4 Ignacio Dotti, 3 Juan Pedro Rombys, 2 German Kessler, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti.
Subs: 16 Facundo Gattas, 17 Juan Echeverria, 18 Diego Arbelo, 19 Diego Magno, 20 Juan Diego Ormaechea, 21 Manuel Ardao, 22 Agustin Ormaechea, 23 Leandro Leivas.
Photo: @GeorgianRugby Twitter