By Andrew Hogan in Tbilisi
The South Africa President’s XV team recorded a hard fought win over Emerging Ireland in the Tbilisi Cup on Tuesday evening thanks to 14 points from the boot of Carl Bezuidenhout.
In front of another capacity 2,000 crowd at the Avchala Stadium, the South African’s physicality and power were crucial elements in them claiming a 19 points to 8 victory.
The South African's started extremely brightly. Their pack won a penalty at the scrum early on to set a marker down to their opponents. Fly half, Carl Bezuidenhout, made no mistake to put his side 3-0 ahead.
The South Africa President’s XV side extended their advantage five minutes later with a try straight off the training ground. The captain, Brendan Snyman, won the ball off the top of the lineout and the backs executed a perfect move with Rosko Specman coming off his wing to create the overlap for Alshaun Bock to finish in the corner. Bezuidenhout’s second successful kick stretched the Boks lead to 10-0.
The young Irish side increased their intensity and applied plenty of pressure on the opposition, especially at scrum time where they won a kickable penalty. Ian Keatley stepped up and made no mistake to cut the deficit to 10-3.
The Emerging Ireland outside backs made two clean line breaks towards the end of the first half but could not turn their good field position into points. The South African’s led 10-3 at the break.
The rain in Tbilisi poured down at the start of the second half and this saw both sides opt to play a much tighter brand of rugby. Bezuidenhout kicked two long range penalties to give South Africa President’s XV a 16-3 lead with just over half an hour remaining.
The Irish responded with replacement winger, Michael Allen, crossing for his side’s first try of the match to bring them back into the contest. This try gave Allen Clark’s team the impetus they required. The Irish had the majority of possession in the final quarter but could not find another way through the valiant South African defence.
Bezuidenhout kicked his fourth penalty just before the end of the match to confirm a South African victory.
Jimmy Stonehouse, coach of South Africa President’s XV said: “We played quite well in the first half, and we had three or four chances to score tries before half time that we failed to take. The second half was a little bit different, Ireland had more ball, but I was extremely happy with the way our guys defended and I was pleased with the way the lineout worked.”
Meanwhile, Emerging Ireland coach Clark was immensely proud of the commitment of his team. “I thought Rhys (Ruddock) led the team magnificently, he displayed a lot of the characteristics of this group. Our accuracy at times let us down, we did create opportunities and we are frustrated by that. We have to take stock from today and learn from it."
Scoring sequence: (South Africa President’s XV first) 3-0, 10-0, 10-3, 13-3, 16-3, 16-8, 19-8
South Africa President’s XV: Penalties: Bezuidenhout (6, 43, 48, 79); Tries: Bock (11); Conversions: Bezuidenhout.
Emerging Ireland: Penalties: Keatley (17); Tries: Allen (61)
South Africa President’s XV
15. Coenie van Wyk; 14. Alshaun Bock (rep: Jerome Pretorius, 55); 13. Willmaure Louw; 12. Adriaan Engelbrecht (rep: Stefan Wartermeyer, 75); 11. Rosko Specman; 10. Carl Bezuidenhout; 9. Kebe Ntanda (rep: Sinovuyo Nyoka, 66) ; 1. Vincent Koch; 2. Frank Herne; 3. Ivann Espag; 4. Eduan van der Walt; 5. Brendan Strydom (Captain) (rep: Giant Mtyanda, 76) ; 6. Brian Shabangu (rep: Martin Dreyer, 55); 7. Uzair Cassiem; 8. Zandre Jordaan (rep: Jaco Bouwer, 55)
Replacements: 16. Kwezilokusa Mkhafu; 17. Martin Dreyer; 18. Giant Mtyanda; 19. Jaco Bouwer; 20. Sinovuyo Nyoka; 21. Stefan Watermeyer; 22. Jerome Pretorius.
15. David Kearney; 14. Niall Morris; 13. Brendan Macken (rep: Eoin Griffin, 76) ; 12. Noel Reid ; 11. Tiernan O’Halloran (rep: Michael Allen, 48); 10. Ian Keatley; 9. John Cooney (rep: Micheal Heaney, 55); 1. Jack McGrath (rep: Richard Lutton, 48); 2. Niall Annett (rep: Rob Herring, 48); 3. Michael Bent (rep: Jack McGrath, 71) ; 4. Ian Nagle (rep: Eoin McKeon, 79) ; 5. David Foley (rep: Dave O’Calalaghan, 55); 6. Rhys Ruddock (Captain); 7. Jordi Murphy; 8. Robbie Diack
Replacements: 16. Robert Herring; 17. Richard Lutton; 18. Dave O’Callaghan; 19. Eoin McKeon; 20. Michael Heaney; 21. Eoin Griffin; 22. Michael Allen
Referee: Nick Briant
Georgia too powerful for Uruguay in Tbilisi Cup
Georgia recorded a 27 points to 3 victory over Uruguay in round two of the Tbilisi Cup with coach, Milton Haig, pleased with his side’s efforts but disappointed that they could not claim the try bonus point.
Haig said: “I thought we played pretty well in that first half. I was reasonably happy with how we started the second half but I thought the last 20 minutes was quite disappointing from an execution point of view. We really needed to try and get a bonus point to put us in a good position. If we were to get the win against South Africa President’s XV on Sunday, it'll put us in with a chance of winning the tournament which was our aim from the start.”
The Georgians got off to an electric start in the second match of the evening with full back Beka Tsiklauri kicking over the first points in the first minute.
Things got better for the Lelos when powerful winger Todua Aleksandre ran in for the hosts' first try. It was a well-worked backs move that was finished off in style by Aleksandre.
The Uruguayans were presented with opportunities to register points on the board, however both German Albanell and Jeronimo Etcheverry’s efforts went wide of the posts.
These missed kicks and some poor defence saw the home side punish the South Americans further with their second try of the match. Inside centre, Merab Sharikadze, bustled his way through six defenders before offloading out of the tackle to the supporting Tedore Zibzibadze who dived over for the Lelos' second try. Tsiklauri kicked his third successful goal to make it 17-0 to Georgia at half time.
The Georgians continued to stamp their authority on the game in the second half with the Uruguayan side struggling to match their physicality. Tsiklauri kicked his second penalty to make it 20-0 before big replacement second row forward Giorgi Nemsadze muscled his way over. Tsiklauri converted to make it 27-0 and now the Lelos were chasing a bonus point.
The South American side did manage to stem the flow and registered their first points of the match on 56 minutes. Scrum half, German Albanell with the successful penalty.
Similarly to Emerging Ireland in the first game, Uruguay had the majority of possession but could not break through the resolute home defence.
Errors from both teams appeared in the final stages of the match and that resulted in neither side registering any further points. Georgia won 27-3.
Lack of focus
Pablo Lemoine, the Uruguay coach, said: “I felt we played quite similarly to the way we played against South Africa President’s XV on Friday, however at times we lacked a bit of focus. It was tough out there but credit to Georgia, I thought they were very good in the first half and I thought their fly half controlled the match well.”
Former Scotland and British and Irish Lion, John Jeffery, was in attendance for both games and he was pleased with what he saw. “They were two fantastic games this evening. The Irish and South African’s played out a very tough match. It looked at one point that South Africa were going to run away with it but Ireland took them on up front, which was a surprise because it was a huge South African pack, and could have very nearly sneaked it at the end.
“Georgia v Uruguay was very attritional, the endeavor of both sides was outstanding. I think the Georgians got a tad anxious towards the end which meant their level and intensity dropped as the match wore on. Nevertheless they were two highly competitive games with lots of young players involved which was great to see.”
Scoring sequence: (Georgia first) 3-0, 10-0, 17-0, 20-0, 27-0, 27-3
Georgia: Penalties: Tsiklauri (1, 42); Tries: Aleksandre (9), Zibzibadze(34), Nemsadze (51) ; Conversions: Tsiklauri (3).
Uruguay: Penalties: Albanell (56)
15. Beka Tsiklauri; 14. Irakli Machkhaneli (Captain); 13. Tedore Zibzibadze (rep: Davit Kacharava, 60) ; 12. Merab Sharikadze; 11. Todua Aleksandre; 10. Lasha khmaladze (rep: Lasha Malaguradze, 77); 9. Giorgi Begadze (rep: Vazha Khutsishvili, 40) ; 1. Irakli Mirtskhulava (rep: Levan Chilachava, 47) ; 2. Revaz Belkania (rep: Simon Maisuradze, 54) ; 3. Davit Zirakashvili; 4. Vakhtang Maisuradze; 5. Giorgi Chkhaidze (rep: Givi Berishvili, 71) ; 6. Shalva Sutiashvili (rep: Giorgi Nemsadze, 30); 7. Viktor Kolelishvili; 8. Beka Bitsadze
Replacements: 16. Simon Maisuradze; 17. Levan Chilachava; 18. Giorgi Nemsadze; 19. Givi Berishvili; 20. Vazha Khutsishvili; 21. Lasha Malaguradze ; 22. Davit Kacharava
15. Jeronimo Etcheverry; 14. Maximiliano Gonzalez (rep: Gaston Gibernau, 50) ; 13. Joaquin Prada; 12. Alberto Roman; 11. Leandro Leivas; 10. Alejo Duran (rep: Agustin Del Castillo, 40) (rep: Juan Tasistro, 54) ; 9. German Albanell; 1. Alejo Corral (rep: Francisco Jimenez, 52) ; 2. Nicolas Klappenbach (Captain) (rep: Arturo Avalo, 52) ; 3. Mario Sagario (rep: Rodolfo De Mula, 70) ; 4. Rodrigo Espiga; 5. Franco Lamanna; 6. Sebastian Sagario(rep: Juan De Freitas, 40) ; 7. Fernando Bascou; 8. Juan Gaminara
Replacements: 16. Arturo Avalo; 17. Francisco Jimenez; 18. Rodolfo De Mula; 19. Juan De Freitas; 20. Juan Tasistro; 21. Agustin Del Castillo; 22. Gaston Gibernau
Referee: Vlad Iordachescu