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Scotland warms up for Boks with easy Georgia win

MATCH REPORT: Scotland wrapped up their World Cup warm-up campaign with a 33-6 victory over Georgia at Murrayfield on Saturday.

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The home team scored all their points in the second half.

Gregor Townsend’s men were 0-6 behind at the interval, but they ran in five unanswered tries in the second period.

Wing Duhan van der Merwe grabbed a double to take his Test-match tally to 20.

“Especially first half, Georgia made it really tough for us,” Van der Merwe said.

“They were really physical and put us under pressure.

“It was important for us to squeeze them up a bit – if our forwards get gain-line then it’s much easier for our backs to go wide.”

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Scotland coach Townsend added: “They [Georgia] were very good in contact in the first half, and they stopped a lot of our attacks.

“Weirdly, that was a better preparation for us than scoring tries in the first half.”

Scotland, however, next face a formidable challenge when they take on Van der Merwe’s native South Africa, the reigning champions, in their World Cup opener in Marseille on September 10.

The Springboks served notice of their intention to win a fourth men’s global title by beating arch-rivals New Zealand 35-7 in a warm-up match at Twickenham on Friday as the All Blacks suffered the heaviest margin of defeat in their history.

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The former Scotland playmaker added: “That’s one of the best performances I’ve seen from them over the last few years, and if they play like that against us, we’ll have to bring our best ever game to beat them.”

For the fourth warm-up match in succession, Scotland were behind at half-time after Georgia flyhalf Luka Matkava kicked two penalties.

But a promising first half for the visitors had a downside when hooker Shalva Mamukashvili – making his 100th Test appearance – limped off just a fortnight ahead of their World Cup opener against Australia in Paris.

Scotland, as happened in their previous two home matches against Italy and France, rallied after the interval as they made it three wins from four warm-up Tests, with Rory Darge, Kyle Steyn and Jack Dempsey scoring tries as well.

Van der Merwe sparked the revival when he strolled in on the left after a brilliant kick-pass by Finn Russell, with the fly-half converting to edge Scotland ahead.

From then on it was one-way traffic.

Dempsey powered his way through a ruck of Georgian bodies to score just left of the posts in the 59th minute, with replacement Ben Healy – on for Russell – converting.

Steyn – who scored a double in defeat away to France last time out – added a fourth try in the 69th minute before Van der Merwe completed the try-scoring two minutes from time.

The scorers

For Scotland
Tries: Van der Merwe 2, Darge, Dempsey, Steyn
Cons: Russell 2, Healy 2

For Georgia
Pens: Matkava 2

Teams:

Scotland: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Kyle Steyn, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sione Tuipulotu, 11 Duhan van der Merwe, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben White, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Rory Darge, 6 Jamie Ritchie (captain), 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Sam Skinner, 3 WP Nel, 2 Dave Cherry, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Ewan Ashman, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Matt Fagerson, 21 George Horne, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Chris Harris.

Georgia: 15 Davit Niniashvili, 14 Akaki Tabutsadze, 13 Demur Tapladze, 12 Merab Sharikadze (captain), 11 Mirian Modebadze, 10 Luka Matkava, 9 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 8 Tornike Jalaghonia, 7 Mikheil Gachechiladze, 6 Luka Ivanishvili, 5 Konstantin Mikautadze, 4 Lado Chachanidze, 3 Beka Gigashvili, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Tengiz Zamtaradze, 17 Guram Gogichashvili, 18 Guram Papidze, 19 Lasha Jaiani, 20 Sandro Mamamtavrishvili, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Tedo Abzhandadze, 23 Giorgi Kveseladze

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Tual Trainini (France), Ludovic Cayre (France)
TMO: Thomas Charabas (France)

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