A spirited Wales outclassed Georgia from the opening kick, running in six tries to two, to take a bonus point in their 43-14 Pool D win at City of Toyota Stadium on Monday.
The 2019 Six Nations Grand Slam champions punched holes in the Georgia defence throughout the first half. Georgia rallied in the second with two tries, but it came too late.
Wales centre Jonathan Davies set the tone early, with a first try after just two minutes. Dan Biggar missed an easy conversion attempt from directly in front of the posts – but redeemed himself with a penalty from 27 metres out soon after.
The second try came courtesy of a weaving run by Gareth Davies, whose pass to send Justin Tipuric over the line delivered Wales a 13-0 lead after 15 minutes. The Welsh dominated possession and territory early, rarely letting Georgia out of their own half and never within striking distance of the line until the outcome seemed clear. The Georgians recorded zero possession for the first ten minutes.
Welsh winger Josh Adams stepped around a defender and outran Georgian full-back Soso Matiashvili from just short of halfway for a stylish try out wide at 19 minutes. The conversion put Wales 22 unanswered points ahead.
The solid Welsh defence never allowed their opponents a chance to build momentum. Georgia’s Shalva Mamukashvili showed flair in attempts at counterattack, only to be met by a wall of red. Thirty minutes in, a Georgian push towards the Wales line was smothered and Wales were back on the offensive once more.
A 15-minute lull in the Welsh scoring was broken when Ken Owen unloaded into the safe hands of a speeding Liam Williams, who crossed moments before half-time.
As play resumed, it was clear the interval’s pep talk must have had the desired effect, as Georgia appeared galvanised for action. Their first points came courtesy of a mighty push by Shalva Mamukashvili and Tedo Abzhandadze’s conversion.
Wales rallied, again overrunning Georgia’s defence. Liam Williams was denied what briefly looked like a second sparkling try by referee Luke Pearce’s call of a preceding knock-on. A yellow card to Georgian replacement hooker Jaba Bregvadze for collapsing a maul put his side down a man for ten minutes.
Wales replacement Tomos Williams chased down a perfectly-timed George North kick to extend the lead to 29 points with 15 minutes to go. Georgia quickly struck back as massive Levan Chilachava forced his way through a pile of Welsh defenders.
George North’s second try came five minutes before the end leaving Wales 43-14 ahead.
Ahead of the clash between the world’s fourth-ranked and 12th-ranked nations, Wales assistant coach Shaun Edwards predicted a physical encounter against “a formidable opponent”. But Georgia had never beaten a Tier 1 nation – and were also without captain Merab Sharikadze, who is still recovering from injury. Head coach Milton Haig was counting on form and luck, noting that the history of sport was littered with upsets. It was not to be.
Wales and Georgia have played just one previous test – at Millenium Stadium, Cardiff in November 2017. Wales were the victors 13-6.
-Story and image derived from https://www.rugbyworldcup.com/news/479998