Planet Rugby

Georgia ice the cake

26th September 2007 18:43

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Georgia celebrate

Gergia's forwards celebrate the first try

Georgia nabbed their first-ever World Cup victory on Wednesday, beating Namibia 30-0 in a sub-standard game played in pouring rain in Lens.

The Georgians played to type, wearing down the Namibians in the heavy conditions, driving hooker Akvsenti Giorgadze over in the first half before finishing the deal with ten minutes to go by sending over wing Irakli Machkhaneli.

As expected, the battle between the basement boys of the Pool began in a full-blooded manner as the two packs sized each other up.

Late alterations to the Namibian XV saw coach Hakkies Husselman include Morne Shreuder and Jurie van Tonder ahead of Tertius Losper and Eugene Jantjies at half-back.

But it was the Georgians who struck first with centre Irakli Giorgadze piercing the Namibian midfield on seven minutes - leading to a penalty - that Merab Kvirikashvili slotted superbly in the pouring rain.

Because of the unfortunate weather, the Lens crowd immediately realised that tries were not going to be the flavour of the evening, as handling errors tainted the early stages.

But Georgia set about making sure that wasn't the case as the impressive Malkhaz Urjukashvili sparked the first of several attacks from full-back with a mazy run.

However, the Europeans were limited to shots at the minimum three points, which Kvirikashvili managed to land at the second time of asking.

With the lead now doubled to 6-0, Georgia continued to work the simple phases as they slowly acclimatised to the dreadful conditions.

And with half-an-hour on the clock, Namibia were finally handed their first opportunity of the game thanks to a Giorgi Shkinin mistake, but the penalty drifted wide of the uprights.

Georgia made their opponents pay and, as expected, the opening try came through the forward dominance. Aksventi Giorgadze was the final man to his feet as the lead stretched to 13-0 on 38 minutes.

After the interval the first penalty opportunity came the way of Kvirikashvili, but the number ten missed by the smallest of margins.

However, Georgia continued to flex their physical dominance as the Africans desperately defended their line for an extended period of time.

Then the possession stakes began to even out as Namibia got a foothold just after the hour.

But it was short-lived as Georgia closed out the game with another Kvirikashvili penalty and intercept tries from Machkhaneli and Kacharava to record their debut win in the World Cup.

Man of the match: The weather had no effect on full-back Malkhaz Urjukashvili, who was a constant thorn in the Namibian side. In a match that could probably be described as an arm-wrestle, Urjukashvili combined solidity under the high ball with some exciting, enterprising rugby.

Moment of the match: Not many moments to savour in a dour match at the Stade Félix Bollaert! But the bruising tackle and steal from Irakli Machkhaneli before racing away to cement the win brightened up the sodden Lens crowd.

Villain of the match: A game played in good spirit - no villain.

The scorers:

For Georgia:

Tries: Giorgadze, Machkhaneli, Kacharava

Cons: Kvirikashvili 3

Pens: Kvirikashvili 3

Georgia: 15 Malkhaz Urjukashvili, 14 Irakli Machkhaneli, 13 Davit Kacharava, 12 Irakli Giorgadze, 11 Giorgi Shkinin, 10 Merab Kvirikashvili, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (c), 8 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 7 Rati Urushadze, 6 Grigol Labadze, 5 Mamuka Gorgodze, 4 Levan Datunashvili, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Akvsenti Giorgadze, 1 Goderdzi Shvelidze.

Replacements: 16 David Khinchagashvili, 17 Avtandil Kopaliani, 18 Victor Didebulidze, 19 Besso Udesiani, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Revaz Gigauri, 22 Besiki Khamashuridze.

Namibia: 15 Eugene Jantjies, 14 Ryan Witbooi, 13 Piet van Zyl, 12 Corne Powell, 11 Bradley Langenhoven, 10 Morne Schreuder, 9 Eugene Jantjies, 8 Tinus du Plessis, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jacques Nieuwenhuis, 5 Heino Senekal, 4 Wacca Kazombiaze, 3 Marius Visser, 2 Hugo Horn, 1 Kees Lensing (c).

Replacements: 16 Johannes Meyer, 17 Johnny Redelinghuys, 18 Jane du Toit, 19 Nico Esterhuize, 20 Jurie van Tonder, 21 Melrick Africa, 22 Morne Schreuder.

Referee: Steve Walsh

Touch judges: Malcolm Changleng, Paul Marks

Television match official: Federico Cuesta

Assessor: Michel Lamoulie

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