Scotland defeat Georgia with an emphatic performance in Tbilisi

Scotland recorded their first away win in over a year with a five-try victory in Tbilisi against Georgia.

Scotland wanted to test themselves in the heat of Georgia in preparation for the Rugby World Cup, keen to replicate some of the elements they expect to find in Japan later this month.

In being the first Tier 1 side to pay in Tbilisi Scotland faced a passionate home crowd, sultry conditions and a side with a point to prove on the world stage.

But from the outset the visitors brought a degree of control to the score board through strong set-piece, creative sparks and punished consistent Georgian ill-discipline.

For the visitors it was a fine-tuning exercise and another chance to shed their away-day blues, for the Georgian’s it was a missed opportunity to claim a rare Six Nation scalp.

Of the five Scottish tries four were scored by men crossing the line for the first time in the dark blue, with Scott Cummings, Rory Hutchinson, twice, and Ben Toolis all scoring their first points for Scotland. Darcy Graham added to his impressive strike rate also with a fine winger’s try.

Head Coach Gregor Townsend had adapted his plans in light of a double concussion count affecting wing Tommy Seymour and back-row Blade Thompson in last weekend’s match versus France.

Add in the hamstring injury which ruled Sam Skinner out of world cup contention and Townsend’s selection was a mix of the tried and the untested a matter of days before his named his final 31-man world cup squad and such was the control he was able to bring on the entire bench and appeared to suffer no further injury scares.

Centre Sam Johnson made his first appearance in the dark blue since the Six Nations and he lined up with Rory Hutchinson, who was making his first Scotland start and scored Scotland’s second try of the night and added a second.

Also starting a test for the first time this summer were prop Allan Dell, fullback Blair Kinghorn and number eight Matt Fagerson who all contributed well.

On a humid night good early possession for the Scots ended when Finn Russell was charged down and a slip in the chase made hearts flutter and lifted the crowd but gave the visitors an early test at the resulting scrum following a knock-on.

Scotland won free kick at first scrum and Russell countered immediately, demonstrating a positive mindset and willingness to take the game to the Georgians.

The Scots won a penalty from the next breakdown and Kinghorn kicked long to midway into the Georgian 22 for a great platform to attack inside the first five minutes.

A keen Georgian defence was subsequently offside, and Laidlaw slotted the first points.

0-3 6mins

Georgia were penalised at another breakdown soon after through good work by McInally to get hands on the ball and Scotland were back in the home side’s 22 with another attacking lineout.

With quick ball Darcy Graham came in from his wing to test the defence and from the resulting ruck Georgia infringed again in front of their own posts.

Laidlaw scored the penalty.

0-6 11mins

The opening spell followed a recurring pattern of Georgian penalties punished by Scotland through territorial gains and points on the board which subdued the home crowd.

Finn Russell was getting his hands on the ball often and created the first two tries with positive attacking from the 10 channel, keeping the defence guessing and bringing his teammates into the game.

For the first try his break up the middle after a great kick return from Darcy Graham got behind the hosts, Matt Fagerson carried well in support, who fed Laidlaw and the scrum-half put Ben Toolis in to score.

Laidlaw converted.

0-13 – 14mins

Russell started to pull strings again for the second try shortly after with a neat chip over the defence and Darcy Graham went close to the line carrying the ball on. A couple of recycling phases later and the fly-half’s wide pass was finished well by Rory Hutchison on his first Scotland start.

Laidlaw converted.

0-20 – 19mins

Scotland had put their hosts under pressure, forced penalties and looked after possession well in comparison to the previous weeks’ matches against France which saw the side concede early and start badly.

A couple of penalties gave Georgia confidence and a platform on the half-hour and following a call for a high tackle they took a shot at goal from Scotland’s 10m line.

Converted by full back Matiashvili.

3-20 33mins

A scrappy lineout by Scotland gave Georgia a break down the blind side but a knock-on brought the game back and Scotland could regroup and won a penalty at the resulting scrum and a Kinghorn touch kick gave another opportunity at the end of the half

Another penalty – one of seven in the opening 40 minutes - moved Scotland close to the line.

A lineout drive started several Scottish attacks across the pitch and Georgia were penalised again for a high tackle under the posts and Laidlaw took the score out to 23 for the first 40 minutes.

3-23 – 40mins

Overall the opening 40mins demonstrated how Scotland could boss a test match and be in control, playing positive rugby, backed by excellent defence.

Half-time 3-23

Finn started the second half as he ended the first half and dribbled ball through the defensive line and cleared to the Georgian 22 in the opening minutes.

A spilled ball in contact by Matt Fagerson was countered by his opposite number and a poor pass to the Georgian full back out wide meant a try scoring overlap was squandered.

It was helter-skelter start to the second half with more balls being dropped and gaps on the pitch for both sides, which weren’t there in the first half.

A nice lineout move from a penalty lineout saw Scotland threaten again and with the Georgian defence stretched Kinghorn fed Graham but he was bundled to touch right on the line.

Scottish drew more confidence up front and took a scrum under the posts and a beautifully worked back move saw Rory Hutchinson score his second try of the night.

Laidlaw converted.

3-30 47mins

Sam Johnson took his leave at this point.

From the restart Georgia conceded another penalty and Russell quick tapped to set Fagerson off down the wing again demonstrating a desire to play fast rugby and move the Georgian pack around.

Georgia had a spell on the Scottish line after the visitors conceded a couple of penalties themselves and gave away territory.

A lineout on their 5-metre line was initially repelled by the Scots and Georgia attacked through the backs and drew another penalty, a disappointing return for the quality of the defence from Scotland.

Georgia kicked for touch again on the 5m line, Scotland disrupted and knocked it on for a home scrum in striking distance of the dark blue line which Georgia brought on a new front row off the bench to compete for, a compliment Scotland’s success at the set piece.

From the scrum the ball went out and after a couple of phases replacement prop Asieshvili drove over. Converted.

10-30 57mins

Josh Strauss, Ali Price, Zander Fagerson and Jamie Bhatti all came on after the Georgia try.

Georgia missed touch from a subsequent penalty and Scotland got on the front foot, won another penalty themselves and were in the hosts 22 with fresh legs and impetus.

Another piece of Russell magic touch opened up Georgia again with a grubber kick to the try line for winger Darcy Graham to track and touch down.

Russell converted.

10-37 63mins

Scotland conceded a couple of penalties and were put pressure on their own line, but the Georgia attack was turned over and Scotland edged their way up the pitch.

Once inside the opposition 22 Ali Price took a quick tap penalty on the Georgian 5m line under their posts and Scott Cummings scored his first try for his country from short range.

Hastings converted.

10-44 74mins

Georgia won a penalty late on and kicked to the corner as the clock ticked into the red, but the ball was lost, and Scotland had completed a confident and convincing win.

Full-time Georgia 10 – Scotland 44


15. Blair Kinghorn, 14. Darcy Graham, 13. Rory Hutchinson, 12. Sam Johnson (47m for Jones), 11. Sean Maitland, 10. Finn Russell (63mins for Hastings), 9. Greig Laidlaw (57mins for Price), 1. Allan Dell (57mins for Bhatti) 2. Stuart McInally, (capt) (63mins for Stewart), 3. Willem Nel (57mins for Z Fagerson) 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. John Barclay (68mins for Cummings), 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Matt Fagerson (57mins for Strauss).

Replacements:16. Grant Stewart (63mins on for McInally), 17. Jamie Bhatti, (57mins on for Dell) 18. Zander Fagerson (57mins on for Nel), 19. Scott Cummings (68mins on for Barclay), 20. Josh Strauss (57mins on for M Fagerson), 21. Ali Price (57mins on for Laidlaw), 22. Adam Hastings (63mins on for Russell) 23. Huw Jones (47mins on for Johnson).


15. I Matiashvili, 14. M Modebadze, 13. Z Dzneladze, 12. D Kacharava, 11. A Todua; 10. T Abzhandadze, 9. V Lobzhanidze; 1. M Nariashvili, 2. S Mamukashvili, 3. B Gigashvili, 4. S Sutiashvili, 5. K Mikautadze, 6. O Giorgadze, 7. B Saginadze, 8. B Gorgadze.

Replacements:16. G Chkoidze, 17. K Asieshvili, 18. L Chilachava, 19. G Nemsadze, 20. L Lomidze,
21. G Aprasidze, 22. L Khmaladze, 23. T Mchedlidze.

Referee M Raynal (France).

live commentary 5:00 PM Saturday 31 Aug 2019

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Kick-off 5:00 PM



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