Scotland made heavy work of their second World Cup win on Wednesday, labouring to a 15-6 victory over Georgia in Invercargill.
Scotland made heavy work of their second World Cup win on Wednesday, labouring to a 15-6 win over Georgia in Invercargill in probably the worst game so far in the 2011 World Cup.
Four penalties and a drop-goal from Dan Parks were enough to hand Scotland four pool points in a try-less encounter in wet conditions.
After struggling to get the better of Romania in their opening fixture on Saturday, Scotland once again failed to impress against a side playing rather negative rugby.
Opportunities were not lacking for Scotland, but their poor execution suggests that they will struggle to make the quarter-finals.
Georgia's tactics were exactly what we expected: It was all about using the grunt of the pack, taking Scotland on up front and doing everything in their power to disrupt Scottish possession.
And it worked. Scotland were always going to try use their superior backs to stretch the big Eastern Europeans wide and they had the majority of the possession to do so. But the Scots' handling let them down more often that not.
Scotland held a 9-3 lead at the end of a first-half highlighted by some thundering tackles from the Georgians and some poor kicking by both sides.
Scotland were forced into a late change when hooker Scott Lawson pulled out after suffering from a tight calf muscle in training. Ross Ford was called into the first-team to replace Lawson, with Dougie Hall coming onto the replacements' bench.
If Andy Robinson's team were in any doubt they were in for a stern contest, it was clear they had a battle on their hands when Georgia took the lead at the end of the first quarter.
Fly-half Merab Kvirikashvili smashed over a penalty from half-way to give the underdogs their first points of the tournament.
Scotland got onto the scoreboard when Parks landed his second attempt at goal. The pivot put the Scots ahead on 33 minutes before slotting a drop-goal just before the break to leave his team 9-3 ahead as the protagonists headed for the changing rooms.
It was much the same story in the second period and the crowd had to wait until the 71st minute to see the first points – again from Parks's boot.
Georgia replied almost immediately but a late three-pointer from Parks secured the win for Scotland.
Man of the match: Not too many impressive performances but Kelly Brown worked tirelessly at the breakdown.
Moment of the match: The anthems? Not much to write home about here. Dan Parks's drop-goal summed up what was a frustrating night for Scotland. Unable to breach the Georgian defence, they had to advance three points at a time.
Pens: Parks 4
Pens: Kvirikashvili 2
Scotland: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Max Evans, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson (captain), 8 Kelly Brown, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Al Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Geoff Cross, 18 Alasdair Dickinson, 19 Richie Gray, 20 Richie Vernon, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Chris Paterson.
Georgia: 15 Revaz Gigauri, 14 Irakli Machkhaneli, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tedo Zibzibadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Merab Kvirikashvili, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (capt), 8 Dimitri Basilaia, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Shalva Sutiashvili, 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze, 4 Levan Datunashvili, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 David Khinchagishvili.
Replacements: 16 Akvsenti Giorgadze, 17 David Kubriashvilini, 18 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 19 Viktor Kolelishvili, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Lasha Khmaladze, 22 Malkhaz Urjukashvili.
Venue: Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Tim Hayes (Wales)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)