Georgia win brutal arm wrestle
Georgia showed good determination to hold off a physical Romanian side before pulling away and registering a convincing 25-9 victory in their World Cup Pool B clash in Palmerston North on Wednesday.
Did Georgia really win? Oh, they scored more points against their greatest rivals, but did they win or whoever drew up the fixtures? On Saturday last Romania faced the might of England. On Wednesday they faced Georgia who had had six days longer to rest. But, wait, Georgia's turn is coming, for they play Argentina on Sunday who will have had a week of. It's tough when the havenots become the get-less.
Speaking for his team after the match Georgian Tedo Zibzibadze acknowledged the problem the Romanians had in playing their second match in so short a time.
Romania were in the game till their big fade started. They were better in the line-outs and the scrums but when Georgia went through quick phases they could just not keep up. The cause may have been fatigue - that and the increase in tempo of the Lelos on the Palmerston north night.
There was a bit of a breeze behind the Georgians when they kicked off but the breeze faded away to nothing as the game went on. It certainly had no effect on the game.
In the early part of the game Romania looked stronger and sharper but the Lelos went ahead against the run of play when
Tiberius Dimofte went offside and flyhalf Merab Kvirikashvili goaled the first of his five penalties, now a Georgian record. 3-0 after 8 minutes.
But Romania got stuck in again and Giorgi Chkhaidze was penalised at a tackle. Dan Dumbrava goaled. 3-3 after 11 minutes.
Georgia mauled well but the Oaks stood firm, and then centre Csaba Gal was offside and Kvirikashvili goaled. 6-3 after 23 minutes. Seven minutes later that became 9-3 when Daniel Carpo was penalised at a tackle. Immediately Dumbrava goaled again when Chkhaidze was penalised at a tackle again. 9-6. Three Romanians were offside at a tackle/ruck thing and Kvirikashvili goaled to make the half-time score 12-6.
It was still anybody's game.
Romania started the half well but then the Georgians took over with lots of close-quarter, short passing at speed and with thrust. They were sharp on the attack as Kvirikashvili broke and hooker Jaba Bregvadze carried it on strongly. After 17 phases big Mamuka Gorgodze forced his way over for the only try of the match. 19-6 after 56 minutes.
That was the winning of the match.
From the kick-off broke strongly and again Georgia got the passes going. When Romania tried to do likewise, they were ponderous, but they had one mighty effort at a scrum and won a tighthead but that is as far as it went for Levan Datunashvili grabbed the ball of them.
Kvirikashvili kicked a penalty, 22-6 with 11 minutes to go, and, surprisingly given the state of the game, substitute Florin Vlaicu kicked a penalty, 22-9 with 9 minutes to play, and finally, as the teams gave everybody a run, substitute Malkhaz Urjukashvili ended the scoring with a penalty.
The World Cup ended for the sturdy Oaks and it ended without a victory. The Lelos, who were playing their third match, now play Argentina on Sunday after a whole three days off while the Pumas are off for seven days.
Man of the Match: Big Mamuka Gorgodze and little Merab Kvirikashvili are the obvious candidates and our choice is the flyhalf who attacked and defended so well and scored 17 points - Merab Kvirikashvili.
Moment of the Match: Mamuka Gorgodze's try and the aggressive build-up to it.
Villain of the Match: Nobody on the field at all but if robbing teams of a fair opportunity is villainy then the fixture people qualify.
Pens: Kvirikashvili 5, Urjukashvili
Pens: Dumbrava 2, Vlaicu
Georgia: 15 Revaz Gigauri, 14 Revaz Gigauri, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tedo Zibzibadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Merab Kvirikashvili, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (captain), 8 Dimitri Basilaia, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 6 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze, 4 Ilia Zedginidze, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 David Kinchagishvili.
Replacements: 16 Goderzi Shvelidze, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Levan Datunashvili, 19 Givi Berishvili, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Irakli Chkhikvadze, 22 Malkhaz Urjukashvili.
Romania: 15 Iulian Dumitras, 14 Stefan Ciuntu, 13 Csaba Gal, 12 Tiberius Dimofte, 11 Madalin Lemnaru, 10 Danut Dumbrava, 9 Florin Surugiu, 8 Daniel Carpo, 7 Ovidiu Tonita, 6 Mihai Macovei, 5 Cristian Petre, 4 Valentin Ursache, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Marius Tincu (captain), 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Bogdan Suman, 17 Silviu Florea, 18 Valentin Poparlan, 19 Daniel Ianus, 20 Valentin Calafeteanu, 21 Constantin Gheara, 22 Florin Vlaicu.
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
TMO: Giulio De Santis (Italy)