A full review of the match between Georgia and Namibia at Sandy Park
It was tight and pulsating game at Sandy Park as Georgia won their second game of RWC 2015 and Namibia picked up their first-ever World Cup bonus point. Georgia dominated on the pitch but not the scoreboard in the first half, Namibia leading 6-0 at the break. The Georgians took advantage of Namibian ill-discipline to score two tries when their opponents were down to 14 men in the second half but a late Theuns Kotze try meant a nervy final two minutes for Georgia. In the end they returned to their forward dominance to close out a narrow win. If New Zealand beat Tonga on Friday, Georgia will qualify automatically for RWC 2019 – another first.
Georgia scrum – The first scrum set the tone, Namibia driven back a good ten metres and they struggled to win the ball back even on their own put-in. A series of scrum infringements on the 5m line before half-time resulted in replacement prop Johannes Coetzee being sin-binned (he was only on as Raoul Larson had already been yellow-carded) and they would have been relieved to move to uncontested scrums with no other tighthead on the bench. In truth, Georgia should have reaped more rewards from their dominance up front.
Tjiuee Uanivi – Jacques Burger is the one who’s usually highlighted as Namibia’s key man, but their lock has made a name for himself during this World Cup. He’s a supreme lineout forward and is athletic in the loose too, causing problems for opponents with ball in hand. A high tackle on Mamuka Gorgodze blotted his copybook at Sandy Park but he has certainly impressed at RWC 2015.
Magic of Merabs – The power of Georgia’s forwards is renowned but the Sandy Park crowd were also treated to fine back play. Full-back Merab Kvirikashvili and centre Merab Sharikadze showed fine footwork to scythe through defenders while wings Tamaz Mchedlidze and Alexander Todua produced mazy runs from deep. It was just a shame that the odd handling error meant the moves broke down.
Whistle stop – The first half lasted more than an hour in real time and while there were a few injuries this was mainly due to the sound of George Clancy’s whistle. The discipline of both sides contributed – they conceded nine penalties apiece – but some of the delays for TMO referrals, scrum resets and chats to players could have been reduced. The first-half finish may have been frenetic but it was also farcical at times.
Crooked feed – Yes, Namibia’s scrum was under pressure from the start and getting the ball out quickly was a priority, but the ball was fed in almost to the back row’s feet let alone the second row at times. When the feed is that blatantly crooked, it should be penalised.
Aimless kicking – When Georgia’s lead had been cut to a point, they should have played for territory and kicked deep to pin Namibia in their own half. Instead they kicked directly at their back three, allowing Namibia to run the ball back at them. In the end they got a penalty and closed out the game – but they need to be more level-headed.
Burger blow – Namibia had lost their captain and talisman after just ten minutes, Jacques Burger going off for a Head Injury Assessment and not returning. The flanker is known for having no regard for his own safety, making tackles time and time again, but no one likes to see such a key figure leave the pitch so early.
553 – The number of metres made by Georgia compared to 287 by Namibia.
131 – The number of tackles made by Namibia compared to 57 by Georgia.
48 – The number of tackles missed by Namibia compared to ten by Georgia.
23 – The total number of penalties conceded in the game, 13 by Namibia and ten by Georgia.
Namibia: C Botha; D Philander (J Coetzee 44), D van Wyk (H Smit 28), D De La Harpe, R van Wyk; T Kotze, Eugene Jantjes (D Stevens 67); J Redelinghuys (J Engels 59), T van Jaarsveld (L van der Westhuizen 72), R Larson (J Coetzee 59), PJ van Lill, T Uanivi, J Burger (capt, R Kitshoff 10), T Du Plessis (W Conradie 59), R Bothma.
Try: Kotze. Con: Kotze. Pens: Kotze 3.
Yellow cards: Raoul Larson (44, 1st half), Johannes Coetzee (50, 1st half), Renaldo Bothma (50).
Georgia: M Kvirikashvili; T Mchedlidze (G Aptsiauri 43), D Kacharava, M Sharikadze, A Todua; L Malaguradze, V Lobzhanidze (G Begadze 66); M Nariashvili (K Asieshvili 36), J Bregvadze (S Mamukashvili 57), D Zirakashvili, G Nemsadze, K Mikautadze (L Datunashvili 57), G Tkhilaishvili, V Kolelishvili, M Gorgodze (capt).
Tries (2): Gordgodze, Malaguradze. Cons: Kvirikashvili 2. Pen: Kvirikashvili.
Yellow card: Jaba Bregvadze (35).
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Man of the Match: Tinus du Plessis