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Late tries flatter New Zealand after sloppy win against Georgia

A frustrating performance from the All Blacks.

Waisake Naholo celebrates opening the scoring.
Waisake Naholo celebrates opening the scoring.
Image: David Davies

New Zealand 43

Georgia 10

IT WAS BILLED as being a massacre, but in the end New Zealand flattered.

They may have scored seven tries, but the tournament favourites went through long spells of sloppy, careless play, with the second-string Georgians physically disrupting a frustrated New Zealand pack.

Julian Savea ran in a hat-trick and Waisake Naholo capped his injury comeback with a great try, but the lasting image from Cardiff will be Mamuka Gorgodze lapping up the applause after being named Man of the Match.

It looked like being a rout straight from the kick off, as Naholo marked his return from a broken leg by breaking through the middle to touch down for a try after just 73 seconds.

Incredibly though, Georgia hit back instantly. Beka Tsuklauri did superbly well to claim a loose ball, sparking wild scenes in Cardiff.

The joy was shortlived though. Julian Savea powered his way to the corner, fending off several tackles along the way, but Carter was off target with the conversion.

But Savea then gave away a cheap penalty, allowing Lasha Malaguradze to cut the gap to just two points, after a frantic opening 12 minutes.

It was as good as things would get for Georgia though. Savea made up for his penalty concession with his second try of the game, before some great work from Richie McCaw created space for Dane Coles to dive over in the corner, and seal the bonus point after just 22 minutes.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool C - New Zealand v Georgia - Millennium Stadium Source: David Davies

But instead of pressing down on the Georgian throats, New Zealand eased off the pressure, and they had to wait until the 52nd minute to extend their lead, Kieran Read going over after some great work from Jerome Kaino.

Despite that breakthrough, the floodgates didn’t open until the final minutes, as Julian Savea completed his hattrick after a simple overlap, before Malakai Fekitoa’s fresh legs cut through Georgia’s defence with ease

Thirty three points down in the final minute, one of the loudest cheers of the night came for the Man of the Match, with Georgia’s captain Mamuka Gorgodze bursting with pride at his team’s efforts.

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New Zealand’s win officially qualifies them for the last eight of the tournament, but big improvements will be needed if they’re to retain their title.

New Zealand scorers:
Tries: Julian Savea (3), Dane Coles, Waisake Naholo, Kieran Read, Malakai Fekitoa (1 each)
Conversions: Dan Carter (4)
Georgia scorers:
Tries: Beka Tsuklauri (1)
Conversions: Lasha Malaguradze (1)
Penalties: Lasha Malaguradze (1)

New Zealand: Ben Smith; Waisake Nadolo, Conrad Smith, Sonny Bill Williams, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Wyatt Crockett, Dane Coles, Charlie Faumuina; Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock; Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw (capt), Kieran Read.

Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock, Owen Franks, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr Barlow, TJ Perenara, Malakai Fekitoa.

Georgia: Beka Tsuklauri; Giorgi Apciauri, David Kacharava, Tamaz Mchedlidze, Alexandr Todua; Lasha Malaguradze, Giorgi Begadze; Karlen Asieshvili, Shalva Mamukashvili, Levan Chilachava; Levan Datunashvili, Giorgi Chkhaidze; Shalva Sutiashvili, Mamuka Gorgodze (capt), Lasha Lomidze.

Replacements: Simon Maisuradze, Mikhail Nariashvili, Anton Peikrishvili, Kote Mikautadze, Viktor Kolelishvili, Vasil Lobjanidze, Merab Sharikadze, Muraz Giorgadze.

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About the author:

Neil Treacy

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