Argentina scored seven tries to thrash Georgia 54-9 in Gloucester on Friday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
After a closely fought first half at Kingsholm Stadium, Los Pumas broke the shackles with a flurry of tries soon after the break and by the 53rd minute, the bonus point was secured.
Georgia initially showed great resilience to stay with their opponents on the scoreboard and even had the upper hand in the scrums for most of part of the game, but like so many of the other tier-two nations, ill discipline derailed their momentum. As the match progressed, the Georgian bodies began to tire as Argentina ran rampant from all parts of the field.
Tight defending by the Lelos inside their 22 saw Tomas Cubelli revert to the boot and the Argentine scrumhalf opened the scoring with a drop goal, the first at this World Cup. Moments later lock Tomas Lavanini scored an unconverted try for an 8-0 lead, which they never relinquished.
Fullback Merab Kvirikashvili kept Georgia within touch with three penalties, but Nicolas Sanchéz slotted two to make it 14-9 at the break.
No one could have predicted what was to come in the second stanza. Georgia captain Mamuka Gorgodze was yellow-carded in the 44th minute and it proved costly.
Argentina, through Cubelli and wings Juan Imhoff and Santiago Cordero, scored three tries in six minutes in his absence and to add insult to injury, Sanchéz nailed all three conversions.
Georgia stemmed the tide for the next quarter of an hour, but Argentina weren't going to be denied a spectacular finish. Replacement scrumhalf Martin Landajo sniped around the ruck for the fifth try, before Cordero and Imhoff completed the rout.
Argentina – Tries: Tomas Lavanini, Tomas Cubelli, Juan Imhoff (2), Santiago Cordero (2), Martin Landajo. Conversions: Nicolas Sanchéz (3), Marcelo Bosch (2). Penalties: Sanchéz (2). Drop goal: Cubelli.
Georgia – Penalties: Merab Kvirikashvili (3).
Argentina – 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martín Hernandéz, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchéz, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Martín Fernandéz Lobbe, 6 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Subs: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Javier Ortega Desio, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
Georgia – 15 Merab Kvirikashvili, 14 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 13 Davit Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Giorgi Aptsiauri, 10 Lasha Malaguradze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Mamuka Gorgodze (c), 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 5 Konstantin Mikautadze, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Subs: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Karlen Asieshvili, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Levan Datunashvili, 20 Shalva Sutiashvili, 21 Giorgi Begadze, 22 Giorgi Pruidze, 23 Muraz Giorgadze.
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images