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Donaldson stars as Wallabies see off plucky Georgia

MATCH REPORT: The Wallabies recorded their first win of the year when they defeated Georgia 35-15 in their World Cup Pool C opener in Saint-Denis on Saturday.


Eddie Jones’ side scored four tries in the match to secure a bonus point, while Georgia managed to cross the whitewash twice.

Ben Donaldson, who was a surprise selection at fullback for Australia, was the star of the show with 25 points to his name.

The Wallabies applied the early pressure with ball in hand and they were rewarded when Jordan Petaia wriggled his way over the tryline for the game’s first try of the game. Ben Donaldson was unsuccessful with the conversion.

The Georgians were struggling to deal with the Wallabies’ big ball carriers out wide and the Australians were in again in the ninth minute with Mark Nawaqanitawase finding his way to the tryline after a neat offload from Petaia on his inside.

This time Donaldson added the extra two points with the conversion.

In between those two tries, Luka Matkava put Georgia on the scoreboard with a three-pointer.


Donaldson made it a 15-point lead for his team after 20 minutes with two penalties of his own.

Ten minutes later it was 21-3 to the Wallabies with Donaldson casually slotting another three-pointer.

Georgia finished the half with 14 men after wing Miriani Modebadze was shown a yellow card for his team’s repeated infringements.

Despite being a man down, the Georgians looked stronger in the opening minutes of the second half and after constant pressure inside the Wallabies’ 22, Luka Ivanishvili crashed over for his team’s first try of the World Cup. Matkava was off-target with his tricky conversion.


However, all that hard work was undone in the 56th minute when Davit Niniashvili threw a 50-50 pass after a great break with Taniela Tupou collecting the ball before sending it wide to Donaldson who sprinted away for his team’s third try. The conversion was successful as well.

The Wallabies eventually got their bonus-point try in the 69th minute when Donaldson was put into space out wide to run in for his second score of the game. He added the extra two points with the conversion.

Georgia thought they were in for their second try of the game a few minutes later, but a great cover tackle from Nawaqanitawase forced Akaki Tabutsadze to lose the ball over the tryline.

However, Georgia did have the final say in the game with replacement prop Beka Gigashvili crashing over for a try in the 80th minute.

Man of the match: Centre Jordan Petaia had a great first half. He scored the opening try and played a big role in his team’s second in the match. Wing Mark Nawaqanitawas was a powerhouse out wide. He beat several defenders and he scored a try as well. However, the award must go to Ben Donaldson. He was a constant threat with ball in hand and he scored two tries as well. In total, he scored 25 of his team’s points during the match.

The scorers:

For Australia:
Tries: Petaia, Nawaqanitawase, Donaldson 2
Cons: Donaldson 3
Pens: Donaldson 3

For Georgia:
Tries: Ivanishvili, Gigashvili
Con: Abzhandadze
Pen: Matkava

Yellow card: Miriani Modebadze (Georgia, 40′ – offside, repeated infringements)


Australia: 15 Ben Donaldson, 14 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13 Jordan Petaia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Carter Gordon, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Tom Hooper, 5 Will Skelton (captain), 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 David Porecki, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Matt Faessler, 17 Blake Schoupp, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Rob Leota, 20 Langi Gleeson, 21 Nic White, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Suliasi Vunivalu.

Georgia: 15 Davit Niniashvili, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Demur Tapladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (captain), 11 Miriani Modebadze, 10 Luka Matkava, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Luka Ivanishvili, 6 Tornike Jalagonia, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Nodar Cheishvili, 3 Guram Papidze, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Nika Abuladze
Replacements: 16 Tengizi Zamtaradze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Beka Gigashvili, 19 Lasha Jaiani, 20 Giorgi Tsutskiridze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Tedo Abzhandadze, 23 Giorgi Kveseladze

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

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