Wales put in a clinical performance to seal a bonus-point 43-14 win over Georgia in their opening World Cup match in Toyota City on Monday. DYLAN JACK reports.
While it was not a perfect performance from Wales, it certainly was impressive as they used nearly every opportunity to start their campaign on a winning note. Warren Gatland would have been pleased with how his charges asserted themselves in the first half, allowing him to give a number of his starters a breather in the second half as Wales prepare for tougher tests against Australia and Fiji.
In just their second-ever meeting with Wales, Georgia had an opportunity to make a statement surrounding their inclusion in the Six Nations. They did well to limit the number of attacking chances Wales had with brave defending, especially in the second half. Some tenacious attacking from their forwards brought them two tries in the second half through hooker Shalva Mamukashvil and tighthead prop Levan Chilachava.
Georgia certainly were not helped by yet another errant refereeing performance as Luke Pearce controversially denied them two cynical penalties, despite referring both to the TMO. It definitely was not game changing in any sense, but still continued what is becoming a worrying theme at this year’s showpiece.
Referee Luke Pearce adjudges the ball to have been knocked backwards by Gareth Davies.
Not sure about that one.
22-0, 26 mins#WALvGEO
— The Rugby Paper (@TheRugbyPaper) September 23, 2019
Early tries from Jonathan Davies and Justin Tipuric laid the platform for Wales in the first half, as Josh Adams and Liam Williams also went over to ensure the bonus point before half time.
Wales struggled in the second half in the face of a physical Georgian defence. It took Wales until the 65th minute to add to their tally as Thomas Williams grounded a cross-field grubber from George North, who grabbed a try in the last 10 minutes to seal the win.
“… We’re probably going to be a bit disappointed if I’m honest with the second half…”
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 23, 2019
Wales – Tries: Jonathan Davies, Justin Tipuric, Josh Adams, Liam Williams, Thomos Williams, George North. Conversions: Dan Biggar (4), Leigh Halfpenny. Penalty: Biggar.
Georgia – Tries: Shalva Mamukashvili, Levan Chilachava. Conversions: Tedo Abzhandadze (2)
Wales – 15 Liam Williams, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Tom Francis, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Wyn Jones.
Subs: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Ross Moriarty, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Rhys Patchell, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.
Georgia – 15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Miriani Modebadze, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 11 Giorgi Kveseladze, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili (c).
Subs: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Shalva Sutiashvili, 20 Beka Saginadze, 21 Otari Giorgadze, 22 Gela Aprasidze, 23 Lasha Khmaladze.
Photo: Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images