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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

Wales carve their way through Georgia and grab bonus point victory

Wales barely had a glove laid on them as they raced out into an early lead.

Josh Adams celebrates his try.
Josh Adams celebrates his try.
Image: Christophe Ena

Wales 43

Georgia  14

WALES MADE LIGHT work of a big heavy Georgia pack to get their World Cup campaign off to a storming start.

Georgia’s pack – led by incoming Munster coach Graham Rowntree – found some dominance in opposition territory and forced two second half tries to.

But, but once pinned back, they were unable destabilize a Wales attack which carved their way to four first-half tries.

While Warren Gatland was without his long-term assistant Rob Howley, the attack looked in rude health as they found their scores with minimal fuss from clinical set moves.

Jonathan Davies struck an early blow for the Grand Slam champions, storming under the posts on first-phase off Gareth Davies’ excellent flat pass.

Georgia’s defence was caught flat-footed repeatedly ni the first half as Dan Biggar and wing Josh Adams twice combined to create near-identical line-breaks.

The first reverse pass from the 10 sent Adams piercing through the middle on 12 minutes before Gareth Davies arrived in support to raid in the 22. Justin Tipuric deputised as scrum-half after the number 9 was tackled and the openside picked and went under the posts.

Biggar repeated the trick five minutes later, popping a simple reverse ball to Adams to allow the wing go on a scything run to the left corner.

Before Adams created and scored those tries to put the game beyond Georgia, however, he was under the TMO microscope and appeared very fortunate to escape any sanction for a fifth-minute aerial clash that brought about a dangerous fall for his opposite number Giorgi Kveseladze.

Referee Luke Pearce judged that Kveseladze had jumped into Adams, and when TMO Rowan Kitt pointed out that Adams had dragged his opponent’s arm while in the air, the referee stuck with his initial decision.

The bonus point was sealed by Wales just before half-time through another set move, a right-hand side line-out provided the basis for Gareth Davies to run a loop play and set Jon Davies away. The centre looked capable of making the line himself, but once tackled he flung the ball left and Liam Williams ran it in on the bounce to ring up a 29-0 half-time advantage.

There was far more parity in the second half, but as much as the crowd screamed their approval for the underdogs, Wales’ head-start was too great to reel in.

Shalva Mamukashvili and Levan Chilachava forced their way over for second-half tries, but replacement scrum-half Tomos Williams and George North combined on excellent Welsh responses in broken field attacks.

Williams’ score came just after the hour, North’s kick ahead from the right wing after Tipuric set him away sent the ball bobbling behind the posts and the number 9 won the race to dot it down.

Williams then showed tremendous footwork and agility to run back a clearing kick, bobbing and weaving to beat defenders before inviting North to finish through contact. 

The bonus point win leaves Gatland’s men top of Pool D, ahead of Australia on points difference. The Wallabies will meet the Grand Slam winners next Sunday in Tokyo. 

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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