Uruguay run out of puff as Georgia power to a bonus-point victory in Kumagaya

2019 Rugby World Cup: Georgia 33-7 Uruguay


Played – 6

Georgia wins – 4

Uruguay wins – 2

Did You Know?

  • Georgia picked up their first-ever try bonus point in a World Cup.
  • They missed a World Cup conversion for the first time, following 16 previous successes.
  • Mamuka Gorgodze made his 13th World Cup appearance. Only Merab Kvirikashvili (15) has played more for Georgia in the World Cup.
  • Felipe Berchesi’s conversion took him to 32 World Cup points – a Uruguay record.

Related: Rugby World Cup Fixtures

In a nutshell

The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. Uruguay were unable to repeat their epic victory over Fiji earlier in the week as Georgia powered towards a bonus-point victory in sweltering Kumagaya.

The tone of the match was set early as a Georgia pack containing six France-based forwards exerted total dominance in the scrum. After winning three successive scrum penalties, Georgia moved the ball left for wing Alexander Todua to open the scoring.

Felipe Berchesi v Georgia

Down and out: Uruguay stand-off Felipe Berchesi lies exhausted as the exertions take their toll (Getty)

Uruguay’s Gaston Mieres was exposed positionally for the try and the full-back endured a difficult day, misjudging a high ball and slicing a kick to touch. His errors typified a Uruguay performance that was high on effort but short of accuracy in the steamy humidity. Spectators fanned themselves to cool down, coaches wiped away the sweat and the match – played in more than 30-degree heat – saw a water break in each half.

No 8 Otari Giorgadze scored Georgia’s second try off a scrum and it was against the run of play when Uruguay struck back through centre Andres Vilaseca after they exploited their opponents’ disconnected defence to the rear of the lineout – just as Wales had done.

A 12-7 half-time score failed to reflect the difference between the sides but the match was soon put to bed as the front row got in the act. Prop Levan Chilachava scored in the corner after Giorgadze’s initial drive and then hooker Jaba Bregvadze, captain for the first time, bagged the bonus point from a driving maul.

Outmuscled in the set-piece and maul, and repeatedly on the receiving end of Wayne Barnes’s whistle, Uruguay had no respite against a freshened-up Georgia side showing 12 changes from the starting XV that played Wales.

Bregvadze created the final Georgia try when tackling Rodrigo Silva on his line, allowing centre Giorgi Kveseladze to dot down from the goal-line ruck.

Los Teros again played with tremendous heart but with less depth to their squad – they made just two changes to the starting XV from the Fiji game – the fatigue showed from an early stage. The penalty count – they conceded 15 in all, many of them in their own half – denied them any sort of platform while they managed only 41% possession and 31% territory.

Their unhappy afternoon was complete when replacement hooker Facundo Gattas was sent off three minutes from time after making contact to the head in a tackle.

Related: Rugby World Cup TV Coverage

Star man

The Georgian forwards were the deciding factor, laying the groundwork with their punishing scrummaging and mauling work.

No 8 Otari Giorgadze, of Brive, was awarded Man of the Match for his powerful running off the base, while Jaba Bregvadze also fared well, backing up his accurate lineout throwing and scrummaging dominance with a try. But this was a collective effort by the pack.

GeorgiaOtari Giorgadze scores v Uruguay

Force 8: Otari Giorgadze, the Man of the Match, scores Georgia’s second try from a scrum (Getty Images)

The reaction

Georgia coach Milton Haig: “It was a fantastic effort by Uruguay to beat Fji and we just knew that, with a four-day turnaround, it was always going to be tough (for them) to last 80 minutes. We kept doing what we were doing and thought they would tire in the second half.”

On putting the players under pressure by describing it as a must-win match and a tipping point for Georgia: “It wasn’t gung-ho, it was reality. It was stating facts – we were at a tipping point. If we go away from it with a loss, everything that we worked at for so long would have gone down the tubes.

“When you’re under pressure, it depends how you use it. You use it as motivation or you use it as a hindrance and I wanted to see how the boys responded. They responded pretty well.”

On the choice of song at the end of the match: “They were playing a song after the match, it was a Russian song sung by a Georgian singer. We want to make it clear Russia is not Georgia, and Georgia is not Russia. It is a different language, culture, everything. Please make sure these kind of things are ironed out for us.”

Andres Vilaseca celebrates his try for Uruguay v Georgia

Bright spot: Andres Vilaseca’s try gave Uruguay hope but it was largely one-way traffic thereafter (Getty)

Georgia captain Jaba Bregvadze: “We prepared for everything: hot conditions, would-be rain, windy, 40 degrees, it doesn’t change anything. We were prepared. The first message was to leave the pitch with pride, to do everything to win the game, to be in every area 100% committed, and set-pieces were key.

“We knew it would be a hard game so we spoke every day in preparation, not to make ourselves proud but more to make all Georgians proud and all Georgians back at home more interested who watched our game early in the morning.

On scoring a try: “This was a team try and lucky I was the one at the end of it. I want to use this moment to ask the person who played the Russian music, next time don’t make the mistake please.”

Uruguay coach Esteban Meneses: “We knew we had a short turnaround (four days) and we prepared for it. We prepared physically, technically and mentally.”

“The result is more disappointing than the performance because it’s a consequence of us losing the ball. Georgia are very good in the scrum and line maul. We need to improve in these areas.

“We’re a very good team and we have very good players and they’ve shocked the world once – why not again against Australia or Wales?”

Referee Wayne Barnes

No option: English referee Wayne Barnes issued the second red card of the tournament (Getty Images)

The Teams

Georgia: Lasha Khmaladze; Zura Dzneladze, Giorgi Kveseladze (Soso Matiashvili 72), Lasha Malaguradze (Merab Sharikadze 59), Alexander Todua; Tedo Abzhandadze, Gela Aprasidze (Vasil Lobzhanidze 67); Guram Gogichashvili, Jaba Bregvadze (capt, Vano Karkadze 64), Levan Chilachava (Giorgi Melikidze 48), Lasha Lomidze, Konstantine Mikautadze (Mamuka Gorgodze 59), Shalva Sutiashvili (Beka Gorgadze 77), Beka Saginadze, Otari Giorgadze.

Tries: Todua, Giorgadze, Chilachava, Bregvadze, Kveseladze. Cons: Abzhandadze.

Uruguay: Gaston Mieres (Leandro Leivas ht); Nicolas Freitas (Agustin Ormaechea 63), Juan Manuel Cat (German Kessler 77), Andres Vilaseca, Rodrigo Silva; Felipe Berchesi, Santiago Arata; Mateo Sanguinetti (Facundo Gattas 46), German Kessler (Juan Echeverria 59), Juan Pedro Rombys (Diego Arbelo 46), Ignacio Dotti (Diego Magno 63), Manuel Leindekar, Juan Manuel Gaminara (capt, Manuel Ardao 59), Santiago Civetta (Juan Diego Ormaechea 59), Alejandro Nieto.

Try: Vilaseca. Con: Berchesi.

Red card: Facundo Gattas 77.

Georgia v Uruguay teams walk out

Primed for battle: a drummer heralds the teams as they walk out at Kumagaya Rugby Stadium (Getty)

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