Argentina put 50 past Georgia

Date published: September 25 2015

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Argentina got their Rugby World Cup campaign back on track when they beat Georgia 54-9 in their Pool C clash at Kingsholm on Friday.

Los Pumas, who lost their tournament opener to New Zealand last Sunday, outscored their opponents by seven tries to nought and their fly-half Nicolas Sanchez impressed with his goalkicking, finishing with a 15-point haul, via two penalties, three conversions and a drop goal.

In a physical encounter – especially the first half when Georgia gave as good as they got – Los Pumas' experience and superior tactical play proved too good for their opponents and they stepped up a gear in the second half after holding a slender 14-9 lead at the break.

Georgia punched above their weight for large periods and were kept in the game up until half-time by the accurate goalkicking of Merab Kvirikashvili, who slotted three penalties, but they ran out of steam in the second half. The sin-binning of their captain Mamuka Gorgodze, for playing the ball on the ground deep inside his 22 shortly after the break, proved costly as Argentina scored 21 unanswered points during his time off the field.

Argentina had the better of the early exchanges and after a sustained period of pressure inside Georgia's 22, Nicolas Sanchez opened the scoring with the tournament's first drop goal in the sixth minute.

The South Americans continued to dominate during the opening quarter and were 8-0 up shortly afterwards when, after taking the ball through several phases in the build-up, Tomas Lavanini scored the game's opening try in the right-hand corner.

Kvirikashvili replied with two penalties for Georgia before Sanchez added a three-pointer from the kicking tee, which meant Argentina held an 11-6 lead in the 22nd minute. The next 10 minutes was an arm wrestle as both sides tried to gain the ascendancy with most of the play restricted to the forwards.

Kvirikashvili added his third three-pointer before Sanchez replied with another penalty for Argentina.

Argentina showed their intentions from the outset when they came out for the second half and were soon camped inside Georgia's 22. Gorgodze's sending-off in the 45th minute proved the pivotal moment in the match and his absence underlined how important he is to Georgia's cause.

First Tomas Cubelli exploited a gap in the defence to go over untouched from a scrum on Georgia's tryline before Juan Imhoff showed a superb turn of speed to get over in the left-hand corner.

The game was all over as a contest by the 52nd minute when Cordero got over for his first try after running onto a pass from Facundo Isa. Cordero still had work to do and beat the final defender with a brilliant side-step before going over for his side's bonus-point try.

That was the knockout blow but Los Pumas weren't done yet. After a sustained period of pressure, close to Georgia's tryline, Martin Landajo scampered over from close quarters after selling the defence a dummy.

Sanchez had been replaced by then and Marcelo Bosch added the extras and also converted Cordero's second try, after he shrugged off two challenges before outpacing the cover defence to dot down.

Imhoff was not to be outdone and also scored his second try in the 75th minute. The speedster had an easy run-in after Argentina's forwards took the ball through several phases inside Georgia's 22.

The victory means Argentina are now second in the pool with five points from two matches – four points adrift of New Zealand.

Man of the match: Several candidates in Argentina's side but Nicolas Sanchez delivered a superb all-round display during his time on the pitch. Sanchez varied his play well and thrived as a playmaker. He brought his forwards into play with clever offloads and also created space for his outside backs.

Moment of the match: The sin binning of Mamuka Gorgodze proved disastrous for Georgia as Argentina made full use of their numerical advantage by scoring three tries in a seven-minute period.

Villain of the match: Nothing nasty to report.

The scorers:

For Argentina:

Tries: Cordero 2, Imhoff 2, Lavanini, Cubelli, Landajo
Cons: Sanchez 3, Bosch 2
Pens: Sanchez 2
Drop goal: Sanchez

For Georgia:
Pens: Kvirikashvili 3
Yellow card: Gorgodze

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Javier Ortega Desio, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino

Georgia: 15 Merab Kvirikashvili, 14 Tamaz Mchedlidze, 13 Davit Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Giorgi Aptsiauri, 10 Lasha Malaguradze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Mamuka Gorgodze (c), 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 5 Konstantin Mikautadze, 4 Giorgi Nemsadze, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Karlen Asieshvili, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Levan Datunashvili, 20 Shalva Sutiashvili, 21 Giorgi Begadze, 22 Giorgi Pruidze, 23 Muraz Giorgadze Referee: JP Doyle (England)

By David Skippers

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