Georgia's power too much for Canada

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 19 June 2012
 Georgia's power too much for Canada
Georgia captain Elguja Surguladze looks for a hole in the Canadian defence on the first day of the JWRT in Salt Lake. Photo: David Brinton

Using a tough second-half defence, Georgia overcame an early deficit and earned a rugged 31-17 victory over Canada in pool play for IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 on Monday.

Georgia turned to its solid kicking game to keep pace with the Canucks during the first half. Saba Nikolava converted four penalty kicks for the Lelos and added another kick after the team's only successful try.

Nikolava's first kick gave Georgia a quick 3-0 lead. Canada wasted no time answering it with quick try from Taylor Paris. Connor McCann added the conversion to make it 7-3. The two teams traded penalty kicks over the next several minutes. Nikolava converted one to cut the margin to a point. McCann responded with another to put the Canucks up 10-6.

Georgia finally put a try on the board when Giorgi Bitsadze turned on the jets near the right line and used his speed and footwork to blow past several defenders. The extra points from Nikolava made it 13-10 for the Lelos.

Canada regained the lead just a couple of minutes later. Paris grabbed the ball on a restart inside the 22 and split up the middle to score his second try of the game. McCann converted the kick and handed the Canucks a 17-13 advantage.

The Lelos turned to Nikolava's foot to make some scoring plays again. He converted consecutive penalty kicks – including one in the final seconds of the first half – to give Georgia a 19-17 half time lead.

An improved offensive attack in the second half, combined with good defence allowed the Lelos to take control of the match. They dominated possession and wore down Canada with their physical play.

Georgia extended the margin to 24-17 early in the second half when Lasha Lomidze broke through the goal line defense and punched in a hard-fought try. Nikolava could not pad the lead this time after he missed his first kick of the game.

The Lelos extended their lead when Giorgi Tetrashvili cut up the middle after Georgia threatened to bog down with repeated scrums near the goal line. A converted kick Tamaz Mchedlidze made it 31-17.

Georgia may lose Bitsadze for future matches after he was shown a red card in the final minute of play.