Rugby Europe Wrap: Georgia defeat Russia

Date published: March 12 2017

Georgia secured their fourth win out of four in this year’s Rugby Europe Championship in front of 55,000 fans on Sunday in Tbilisi.

The Lelos stay in top spot as a result going into the final weekend of the competition, having seen off Russia by a scoreline of 24 points to 17.

Sunday’s win sets up a winner-takes-all clash next weekend against Romania, who trail Georgia by three points after four rounds, as Georgia bid to win a seventh straight title in Bucharest.

Giorgi Koshadze opened the scoring after five minutes before two scores from Vasil Lobzhanidze put the hosts in total control, leading 21-0 after half-time.

Yuri Kushnarev did hit back for Russia, making it 21-7, but Georgia then put the result beyond doubt thanks to a fourth try, Davit Kacharava getting the ball down.

Russia kept battling to the end and had the final say thanks to a score from Dimitri Krotov, making the final score 28-14.

Meanwhile on Saturday it was Romania’s 33-17 win over Belgium which allowed the Oaks to keep the pressure on Georgia ahead Sunday’s fixture, momentarily going top of the table having scored five tries.

The match was a special occasion for Romania, with star back Florin Vlaicu becoming the first player ever to win 100 Test caps for the Oaks.

Vlaicu was the side’s fifth and final try scorer and kicked four conversions as Romania worked hard to win in Brussels.

Two scores from winger Jack Cobden on debut set Romania on their way, leading 14-0 at half-time, but Belgium kept themselves in the content with a try from Charles Reynaert.

Johan van Heerden hit back for Romania, only for Belgium’s prop Jean-Baptiste de Clercq to keep the game alive with a score.

Late tries from Alex Gorda%u0219 and Vlaicu however eliminated the prospect of an upset, as Romania came away with a 33-17 win.

And finally in the weekend’s final match there was victory for Spain away in Germany, ending Germany’s hopes of qualifying for the next Rugby World Cup in the process.

Full-back Brad Linklater opened the scoring for Spain and after Federico Casteglioni’s score, converted also by Linklater, Spain held a 17-3 lead after an earlier penalty.

Further scores from Jordi Jorba and Guillermo Rouet meant that Spain held an enormous 29-3 by the interval.

Germany did respond in the second half with tries from Jacobus Otto but also lost winger Marcel Coetzee to a yellow card. A Linklater penalty stretched the lead to 32-8, and despite a late score from Germany’s second-row Eric Marks, Spain won comfortably.

Photo credit: Giorgi Bukhaidze

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