Scotland stutter to unconvincing win
Dan Parks kicked four penalties and a drop-goal as Scotland stuttered to a 15-6 win over Georgia in their World Cup encounter at Rugby Park, in Invercargill, on Wednesday.
Kicking in the rain. That was it. No singing, just kicking. All the points came from kicks and much of what else happened was kicking, some of it as bad as the weather in Invercargill in Upper Antarctica on Wednesday night. If you dozed off from time to time and woke up to wonder if you had missed anything, you were wrong. There was nothing much to miss and precious little to report.
The best of the match was in the first few minutes when Georgia played grab and smash and in bits of energy from the Lamont brothers. Antarctica was closer to Invercargill than the teams were to the goal-lines. Tries were just not on.
The Scots - praise them - stood up with remarkable strength and composure to their second battering by sturdy men from Eastern Europe in four days, men who set out to destroy them but did not manage it.
The Georgians - praise them - were determined and committed in what they did. They even counterattacked through their fullback Revaz Gigauri and wing Alexander Todua did a couple of clever darts before he went off.
For long periods of the match, after their initial surge, the Georgians had no ball and a penalty count of 14-6 against them further kept them without ball. They also did nothing clever in the match.
Scrums for them meant burly No.8 Dimitri Basilaia picking up and running, several times effectively and once to send Todua racing down the right. And the Lelos scored first.
Sean Lamont went offside and from three metres inside his own half flyhalf Merab Kvirikashvili stroked the ball over. 3-0 after 17 minutes.
Dan Parks, who missed three penalty kicks at goal, levelled the scores with an easy kick from in front when Tedo Zibzibadze, penalised four times in the match, was offside in front and close in. 3-3 after 23 minutes.
By this time Georgia had run out of grab and smash and just plodded on through the pedestrian match.
Twice more Parks scored, first a penalty when Mamuka Gorgodze infringed at a tackle and then a dropped goal from in front. That made the score 9-3 at the break.
Sean Lamont had a good break and Ally Strokosch carried it on, but it petered out. Rory Lamont had a good run, but that too came to nothing. Giorgi Chkhaidze went offside and Parks made it 12-3 with 10 minutes to play. Nothing much else happened in the first half an hour of the second half.
Richie Gray came on as a substitute and was penalised. Kvirikashvili goaled. 12-6. That put Georgia in line for a bonus point but yet again Zibzibadze was penalised and Parks made the final score 15-6.
There is really not a lot to report.
Man of the Match: There were the Lamont brothers, Kelly Brown and, our Man of the Match, robust, energetic Ally Strokosch.
Moment of the Match: Merab Kvirikashvili's first penalty - a long one on a windless but wet evening.
Villain of the Match: Nobody.
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 Ally 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 (captain), 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 Kubriashvili, 18 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 19 Viktor Kolelishvili, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Lasha Khmaladze, 22 Malkhaz Urjukashvili.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Tim Hayes (Wales)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)