A full review of New Zealand's win over Georgia in Cardiff
New Zealand had wrapped up the four-try bonus point after 22 minutes – the quickest of RWC 2015 to date – but they were made to work hard for this win by Georgia. The Lelos disrupted the defending champions with their physicality and commitment, while New Zealand’s own errors and inability to keep hold of the ball meant they couldn’t impose their usual authority.
Make some noise – Yet again there was a packed house at a World Cup game and the Millennium Stadium crowd really bought into this match. Every notable Georgia achievement, particularly Beka Tsiklauri’s early try, was met with as loud a cheer as New Zealand’s scores. The fans were engaged and appreciating the skills of players known and unknown.
Try-scorers – Waisake Naholo became the 100th different player to score a try at this World Cup when crossing in the second minute. The fact the scoring duties are being spread around goes to show just how much talent there is in this team game.
Georgia’s scrum – We’ve waxed lyrical about Davit Zirakashvili in Rugby World before, but the Clermont prop is not the only decent scrummager in Georgia’s squad. In-stadium pundit Brad Thorn said Georgia dominated the scrum and while not all the calls went their way, they caused the All Blacks problems up front, driving them backwards on a few occasions.
Carter’s kicking – New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter is the record point-scorer in Test rugby. So for him to miss three successive kicks at goal in the first half drew a few gasps from the crowd. Georgia didn’t punish such inaccuracy but stronger teams would most certainly look to take advantage if there was a repeat later in the tournament.
Sticky fingers – The All Blacks are renowned for their skills but let themselves down in certain errors against Georgia. Their handling, in particular, was far from perfect, with the number of knock-ons generating looks of consternation from Steve Hansen in the stands. Even the normally flawless Kieran Read couldn’t keep hold of the ball at times.
Rest for the physios – Given some of the hits going in during this match, the physios and masseuses of both these teams are going to busy over the weekend. A lot of sore bodies to look after.
714 – The number of metres made by New Zealand compared to 93 by Georgia. Ben Smith alone made 106.
4 – The number of missed tackles by New Zealand compared to 25 by Georgia.
12 – The number of clean breaks made by New Zealand compared to two by Georgia.
New Zealand: B Smith; W Naholo (M Fekitoa 53), C Smith (SB Williams 63), SB Williams (V Vito 57), J Savea; D Carter, A Smith (T Kerr-Barlow 71); W Crockett (T Woodcock 61), D Coles (K Mealamu 71), C Faumuina (O Franks 61), B Retallick, S Whitelock, J Kaino, R McCaw (capt, S Cane 61), K Read.
Tries (7): Naholo, Savea 3, Coles, Read, Fekitoa. Cons: Carter 4.
Georgia: B Tsiklauri; G Aptsiauri, D Kacharava, T Mchedlidze (M Giorgadze 76), A Todua (M Sharikadze 66); L Malaguradze, G Begadze (V Lobzhanidze 44); K Asieshvili (M Nariashvili 51), S Mamukashvili (S Maisuradze 66), L Chilachava (A Peikrishvili 51), G Chkhaidze, L Datunashvili, S Sutiashvili, M Gorgodze (capt, K Mikautadze 48), L Lomidze (V Kolelishvili 68).
Try: Tsiklauri. Con: Malaguradze. Pen: Malaguradze.
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Man of the Match: Mamuka Gorgodze