Scotland maintained their winning start to the World Cup but were
pushed all the way by fearless Georgia in a Pool B match in
Invercargill on Wednesday.
At a drenched Rugby Park Stadium a battle of the fly-halves ensued in the showpiece tournament’s first try-less affair.
Merab Kvirikashvili handed his side an unlikely lead against the run of play before Dan Parks levelled the scores.
From there the two No.10s traded blows with the boot and with Scotland’s pack on top Parks was destined to be the winner.
Lelos, coached by former Scotland international Richie Dixon, went into
the clash after winning all eight of their previous matches in the last
But Scotland head coach Andy Robinson hoped his
side’s narrow escape against Romania at the same venue would provide a
wake-up call ahead of the second round clash with Georgia.
are ranked seven places higher than the minnows by the IRB and boast a
100 per cent record when captained by Rory Lawson following wins
against South Africa, Samoa and Ireland – and now Georgia.
But the match left plenty to be desired with a make or break clash with Argentina due on September 25.
The Scots made an assured start to the crunch clash, but it was Georgia that had the first chance to take the lead.
some strong ball carrying from Georgia’s colossal backrow.
Kvirikashvili dropped into the pocket but lost his footing and his
drop-goal drifted left of the uprights.
Both sides enjoyed periods of pressure but were let down by mistakes in the final quarter.
Georgia took the lead on 17 minutes when Sean Lamont was caught offside and Kvirikashvili slotted a long-range penalty.
Parks almost instantly had the opportunity to draw level but the inconsistent fly-half snatched his penalty attempt.
He made no mistake from straight in front of the posts on 22 minutes to tie the scores.
a sustained period of pressure, shortly after the half-hour mark,
Scotland edged into a 6-3 lead courtesy of Parks’ right boot.
And he was at it again on 38 minutes with an opportunistic drop-goal to hand Robinson’s men a 9-3 lead at the interval.
again started brightly but were thwarted by Georgia’s courageous
defence which continually forced mistakes from Robinson’s men.
Parks was off-target with a 63rd minute long-range penalty account as the second-half stalemate continued.
Rory Lamont sliced through the Georgian defence on 65 minutes but the Lelos scrambled well and bundled Jim Hamilton in to touch.
But five minutes later Parks broke the deadlock and stretched Scotland’s lead to 12-3.
instantly hit-back with a penalty from Kvirikashvili to reduce the
deficit to six points but with four minutes to go Parks was on target
again as Scotland held on for a hard-fought win.