Scotland punish Georgia
REPORT: Flyhalf Finn Russell starred as Scotland hammered Georgia 44-10 in a Rugby World Cup warm-up Test in Tbilisi on Saturday.
Russell played a part in all but one of the visitors’ six tries in a fixture which marked the first time a country from the top table of international rugby played a game in the eastern European nation.
Centre Rory Hutchinson crossed twice to secure Gregor Townsend’s second straight victory after losing to France a fortnight ago.
Prop Kakha Asieshvili claimed his sixth try in 35 Tests for the ‘Lelos’, ranked 12th in the world rankings, who beat South African provincial side the Southern Kings on Tuesday.
The visitors raced into a 6-0 lead after 12 minutes with two Laidlaw penalty goals.
Scotland made the most of their early dominance as Russell showed his quality against a sluggish defensive line.
His break after 14 minutes ended with second-row Ben Toolis scoring.
The Racing 92 fly-half then set up Hutchinson five minutes later for the centre’s first Test try and Scotland led 20-0 after 19 minutes.
The home side claimed their first points of proceedings with a 40-metre penalty from full-back Soso Matiashvili.
Laidlaw then re-established the 20-point lead just before the break with an simple effort of his own.
Northampton midfielder Hutchinson, starting his first international, scored his second of the game eight minutes into the second half.
Georgia’s crossed through substitute Kakha Asiseshvili with the prop’s first touch after 58 minutes.
Flyhalf Tedo Abzhandadze added the extras but Scotland led 30-10 with a quarter of the game to play.
Russell was key in the away side’s fourth try.
His neat grubber kick was collected by Darcy Graham for the winger’s fourth try in six Tests and Russell was substituted after slotting the touchline conversion with 15 minutes remaining.
Scotland’s fifth try came as substitute scrum-half Ali Price took a quick penalty and Scott Cummings crashed over from short range on the 74-minute mark.
The two side face each other once again next Friday in their final warm-up game ahead of the start of the World Cup.
Tries: Toolis, Hutchinson 2, Graham, Cummings.
Cons: Greig Laidlaw 3, Russell, Hutchinson.
Pens: Laidlaw 3.
Georgia: 15 Soso Matiashvili, 14 Mirian Modebadze, 13 Zurab Dzneladze, 12 Davit Katcharava, 11 Sandro Todua, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Beka Gorgadze, 7 Beka Saghinadze, 6 Otar Giorgadze, 5 Kote Mikautadze, 4 Shalva Sutiashvili, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili (captain).
Replacements: 16 Giorgi Tchqoidze, 17 Kakha Asieshvili, 18 Levan Chilachava, 19 Giorgi Nemsadze, 20 Lasha Lomidze, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Lasha Khmaladze, 23 Tamaz Mtchedlidze
Scotland: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Rory Hutchinson, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 John Barclay, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Stuart McInally (captain), 1 Allan Dell.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Josh Strauss, 21 Ali Price, 22 Adam Hastings, 23 Huw Jones.
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Dan Jones (Wales)
TMO: Trevor Fisher (England)