The Welsh kicked off their Rugby World Cup campaign with a bonus-point win against Georgia in Toyota
Played – 2
Wales wins – 2
Georgia wins – 0
Did You Know?
- Alun Wyn Jones equalled Gethin Jenkins’s Wales caps record in this match. They have now both played 129 Tests for their country.
- Georgia maintained their record of not missing a conversion in World Cup history, getting maximum points from all 16 of their tries to date.
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In a nutshell
Wales had the try bonus point wrapped up by half-time in their tricky Pool D opener against Georgia – cutting through Georgia’s defence like the proverbial hot knife through butter – but they found it much harder work in the second 40 against a revived Lelos team.
First to cross, after just three minutes, was Jonathan Davies, who cut straight through the Georgian midfield to score under the posts. The only surprise was that Dan Biggar then hit the post with his conversion – maybe the accidental headbutt from Liam Williams during the try celebrations played a part in that!
Justin Tipuric and Josh Adams both notched tries in the first quarter, inside balls catching Georgia’s defence off guard and allowing the Welsh to make easy ground.
You can watch the Josh Adams try here…
Then, after Georgia had spent a good ten minutes in the Welsh 22 but not been able to break down the famed defence, Wales came again. From a lineout they spread the ball wide, Jonathan Davies cut a hard line and then passed outside for Liam Williams to collect it on the bounce and touch down. Four tries in 40 minutes and the bonus point secured.
Georgia were more resolute at the start of the second period, though, and this seemed to rally a crowd that had been somewhat subdued in the first 40. They clearly wanted to see more of a contest.
The Lelos set up a five-metre lineout from a couple of penalties, got their rolling maul in gear and Shalva Mamukashvili touched the ball down.
Wales were straight back into the Georgian 22 and got their own maul moving – so much so that Jaba Bregvadze was sin-binned for collapsing it – but the Lelos were able to hold out the red waves and eventually turned the ball over.
They withstood the Welsh attacks for nearly half an hour – and exerted pressure of their own – before Tomos Williams won the race to touch down a George North kick ahead.
Georgia deserved another try, though, and duly delivered when taking a quick tap from a scrum penalty. The forwards carried hard and fast to get within a few metres of the line, then Levan Chilachava got low to cross the whitewash.
Tomos Williams then turned creator for North, breaking on the outside before passing inside for the winger to stretch for the line.
A maximum five points for Wales ahead of Sunday’s match with Australia, but that second half will have taken its toll in terms of the physicality.
Dan Biggar led the attack well while being on the receiving end of some powerful tackles while Josh Adams was a constant threat, whether out on the wing or cutting into midfield. We’ll give the gong to Justin Tipuric, though. He was the action man for Wales on both sides of the ball. He took his try well, charged down kicks, made his tackles and proved, as ever, a good link man.
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Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones: “We came out of the blocks as we wanted in the first half. We’re probably a bit disappointed with the second half, we left a couple of tries out there. The overall feeling is we took our foot off the gas a bit in the second half. It’s a good result, but there’s plenty to work on.”
Georgia coach Milton Haig: “The first half wasn’t very good. We got caught out a couple of times around the edge of our set-piece, so they ended up getting a few points.
“But I thought we played very well in the second half and we showed typical Georgian fighting spirit we’re known for. I’m proud of how they went in that second half and it’s something to build on for the future in the tournament.”
Wales: Liam Williams (Leigh Halfpenny 61); George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar (Rhys Patchell 67), Gareth Davies (Tomos Williams 51); Wyn Jones (Nicky Smith 56), Ken Owens (Elliot Dee 56), Tom Francis (Dillon Lewis 47), Jake Ball (Aaron Shingler 62), Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Aaron Wainwright (Ross Moriarty 51), Justin Tipuric, Josh Navidi.
Tries: J Davies 3, Tipuric 13, Adams 19, L Williams 40, T Williams 65, North 76. Cons: Biggar 4, Halfpenny. Pen: Biggar.
Georgia: Soso Matiashvili; Miriani Modebadze, David Kacharava, Tamaz Mchedlidze, Giorgi Kveseladze; Tedo Abzhandadze, Vasil Lobzhanidze (Gela Aprasidze 60); Mikheil Nariashvili (captain, Guram Gogichashvili 47), Shalva Mamukashvili (Jaba Bregvadze 47), Beka Gigashvili (Levan Chilachava 47, Gigashvili 79), Giorgi Nemsadze, Konstantine Mikautadze (Shalva Sutiashvili 51), Giorgi Tkhilaishvili (Shalva Mamukashvili 55-58, Beka Saginadze 58), Mamuka Gorgodze (Otari Giorgadze 60), Beka Gorgadze.
Tries: Mamukashvili 43, Chilachava 69. Cons: Abzhandadze 2.
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