PLAYER RATINGS: WALES PREVAIL IN AWFUL CONDITIONS
OPINION: This was a must win match for Wayne Pivac and Wales after and awful run of seven losses in a row.
With conditions being difficult as well as thirteen changes plus three uncapped players in the starting XV Wales will be happy to just record a win.
Individual performances inevitably suffered at the hands of the inclement weather and of course this should be taken into account when looking at the player ratings.
1. Wyn Jones – 7: He went after the Georgians in the scrums (their strongest element) and won two early penalties off the massive tighthead Beka Gigashvili. At just 28 years of age he still has plenty of time to make the Welsh loosehead jersey his own
2. Elliot Dee – 7.5: It appeared as though he had scored a try before the ball was recycled in the lead up to Rees-Zammit’s try, although ref Luke Pierce didn’t seem notice it. A huge hit by Dee on Georgian lock Konstantin Mikautadze which saw him leave the field with a shoulder injury summing up a powerful and aggressive performance by the hooker.
3. Samson Lee – 6: Back to his best in the scrums he proved to be an immovable force for Wales.
4. Jake Ball – 6: As one of Wales’s principal ball carriers he made a job of sneaking one or two-metre gains against an unrelenting Georgian defence.
5. Seb Davies – 5: He failed to make much impression on the Georgians in a scrappy game that largely passed the young Cardiff Blues lock by.
6. James Botham – 6: The son of legendary English cricketer Ian Botham made a lot of headlines in the lead up to the game but one had to wonder whether his debut would match up to the hype. He was a constant physical presence but after a bright start just seemed to spend his time straddling the side-lines when Wales had possession. At one stage, with just the Georgian flyhalf between him and the try-line he somehow ended up conceding a penalty and seemed to be completely unaware of whether the ref had blown it up or not.
7. Justin Tipuric – 7: Proved to be constant thorn in the Georgian’s side on defence and attack as he excelled over the ball in the first half but a needless swinging arm ended his afternoon rather abruptly.
8. Aaron Wainwright – 7: Although selected out of position the Welsh loose forward seemed to be on a mission to impress with ball in hand. He was tireless in his willingness and availability for work even if he didn’t always get the returns he would have liked. Thoroughly deserved his man of the match title.
9. Kieran Hardy – 7.5: Looking really sharp on debut at his regional home ground Hardy has a fine crisp pass and a properly explosive break. An exciting prospect at scrum half for Wales.
10. Callum Sheedy – 8: With an early penalty to settle his nerves it was clear the highly rated Bristol flyhalf looked comfortable in bringing the ball to the line, which is something you don’t frequently get with either Dan Biggar or Rhys Patchell. The only criticism one could level at the debutant is that the game plan he attempted to execute didn’t quite match the playing conditions.
11. Louis Rees-Zammit – 7.5: Unlucky not to have scored twice in the first quarter before eventually scoring on his third attempt the rising star was perhaps a little too eager to impress and some early fumbles would have left him annoyed. A blistering 35-metre run in the 55th minute and some good hands in the 75th saw him put Rhys Webb away for a try.
12. Johnny Williams – 6: One of just a handful of players to represent two different countries at senior level, the Scarlets centre made an immediate impact with his solid defence but unfortunately didn’t get the chance to show us what he’s capable of with ball-in-hand, other than a few direct runs that yielded about 19 post-contact metres.
13. Nick Tompkins – 5.5: With a rather pedestrian Georgian backline Tompkins should have been able to lay down a marker at 13. He looked busy at times but was ultimately part of a Welsh backline that was hampered by conditions and failed to create much as a unit.
14. Johnny McNicholl – 5: After being out for some time with injury McNicholl was another player that will have wanted to put in a big performance against a rather limited opposition. Made some telling contributions on attack but sadly left the field just after half-time with what looked to be a shoulder injury.
15. Liam Williams – 5.5: Looked for work as much as he could coming in often from the backfield but didn’t have much to show for his industry. Unflappable as always under the high ball.
16. Sam Parry – N/A
17. Nicky Smith – N/A
18. Leon Brown – 7: Won a scrum penalty within minutes of coming on. As Wales will be looking to phase out Tomas Francis they should prioritize giving Brown more game time.
19: Cory Hill – N/A
20: James Davies – N/A
21: Rhys Webb – 7: Almost created a try with an acrobatic attempt at an offload – just millimetres from being brilliant. Scored a try from a deft Rees-Zammit pass.
22: Ioan Lloyd – N/A
23: Jonah Holmes – 6: Came on for McNicholl early in the second half and made a couple of positive attacking contributions but fell victim to the conditions as did the rest of the Welsh backline.