Georgia 16-26 Argentina Jaguars
By Andrew Hogan
Argentina Jaguars made it two wins from two in an ill-tempered affair with Georgia that saw four yellow cards and two red cards at Avchala Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. For 21-year-old Georgian Merab Shaikadze the defeat made for a disappointing end to what had been a wonderful few days, the centre having been named as his country's youngest-ever captain when the teams were announced earlier in the week.
Both countries crossed for a try apiece, but it was a moment of individual brilliance from winger Ramiro Moyano, who scored a try with two minutes to go, that confirmed the Jaguars' win.
Argentina made a great start to the match and were on the board after only two minutes of play through the boot of inside centre Juan Pablo Socino. Moyano made a great break down the left hand flank in the lead up where Georgia were penalised for slowing the ball down. As a result Givi Berishvili was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes.
A man down, the Georgian scrum was demolished on their own put in to give Socino the opportunity to kick his second penalty which he duly accepted.
After going behind early on the Georgians rallied and were awarded a penalty on 12 minutes that fly half Lasha Malaguradze converted.
The opening try came just before the end of the first quarter and it was a vintage effort from the Georgian pack. A catch-and-drive move from the lineout was superbly executed before Beka Bitsadze peeled away. With Bitsadze dragged down a metre short, loose head prop Zurab Zhvania was on hand to pick up and drive over from short range. Malaguradze converted to put his side 10-6 ahead.
Pablo Socino cut the lead to a point with his third successful penalty before Lasha Malaguradze booted a 55-metre penalty goal to restore his side’s four-point buffer.
After Juan Cappiello had been dispatched to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle the Jaguars were given another penalty chance late on in the half. Socino made no mistake to send his side into the break only one point in arrears at 12-13.
Socino strikes again
The South Americans regained the lead early into the second half with the reliable boot of Socino proving effective yet again, and he made it six kicks from six on 53 minutes when the Georgians were penalised at scrum-time, an area where they struggled for much of the match.
The Georgians got back in touch to trail by just two points with 20 minutes to play when Malaguradze bisected the posts with his next shot at goal.
Play really started to open up in the final quarter with the hosts chancing their arm. A great attack that started in their own 22 could have ended in a try after a great bit of vision from Lasha Malaguradze found Kote Mikautadze in acres of space. However the big second rower could not find the offload that would have led to a certain score.
The Lelos fly half was again at the heart of the action when his pinpoint banana kick found Tamaz Mtchedlidze, but the winger's boot grazed the touchline in the acting of scoring to prevent what would have been an outstanding try.
As tempers flared both teams had a player sent off with 70 minutes gone, referee Luke Pearce giving Georgian tight head prop, Giorgi Mtchedlishvili and Jaguars hooker Facundo Bosch their marching orders after a bout of fisticuffs.
Socino kept up his impeccable record with his seventh straight effort before Moyano, who had been dangerous all day, scored a fantastic try. The winger received the ball on half way and stepped through the Georgian defence. With two players still to beat, he pinned his ears back and sprinted to the corner for the winning score.
After the match Georgian head coach Milton Haig was understandably disappointed. "It was a real stop-start game and the players got frustrated,” he said. “We didn't help ourselves at times with poor discipline which didn't enable us to get any tempo or momentum in the match. We need to regroup and prepare for our final match with Emerging Italy on Sunday."
Victorious Jaguars captain Lisandro Ahaulli was very happy with his team’s victory. He said: "We expected a hard game and that is what we got. We had to adopt a slightly different style from our first match as it was a lot more physical and we didn't have the possession we had against Emerging Italy. Georgia are a hard team, it was like a final for our boys and we are delighted to get the win."
The Jaguars face Spain on Sunday knowing a win will secure them the Tbilisi Cup 2014 title. The Georgians will play Emerging Italy in the earlier kick-off looking to get back to winning ways.
Scoring sequence: (Georgia first): 0-3, 0-6, 3-6, 10-6, 10-9, 13-9, 13-12 HT, 13-15, 13-18, 16-18, 16-21, 16-26
Scorers: Argentina Jaguars: Tries: Moyano (78); Penalties: Socino (2, 9, 23, 40, 48, 54, 76); Georgia: Tries: Zhvania (17); Penalties: Malaguradze (12, 27, 56); Conversions: Malaguradze
Georgia: 15. Irakli Qiasashvili; 14. Tamaz Mtchedlidze, 13. Tedo Zibzibadze, 12. Merab Shaikadze ©,11. Alexander Todua; 10. Lasha Malaguradze, 9. Giorgi Rokhvadze; 1. Zurab Zhvania, 2. Simon Maisuradze, 3. Giorgi Mtchedlishvili, 4. Giorgi Nemsadze, 5. Kote Mikautadze, 6. Dimitri Basilaia, 7. Givi Berishvili, 8. Beka Bitsadze
Replacements: 16. Shalva Mamukashvili, 17. Guram Kavtidze, 18. Elizbar Quparadze, 19. Lasha Lomidze, 20. Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 21. Giorgi Begadze, 22. Beka Tsiklauri
Argentina Jaguars: 15. Gonzalo Guitierrez Taboada; 14. Matias Masera, 13. Juan Cappiello, 12. Juan Pablo Socino, 11. Ramiro Moyano; 10. Javier Rojas, 9. Felipe Ezcurra; 1. Nahuel Lobo, 2. Facundo Bosch, 3. Damian Arias, 4.Martin Chappesoni, 5. Lucas Ponce, 6. Nicolas Proto, 7. Facundo Isa, 8. Lisandro Ahaulli ©
Replacements: 16. Santiago Garcia Botta, 17. Tomas Baravalle, 18. Gaston Cortes, 19. Lucas Maguire; 20. Lautaro Casado, 21. Marcos Bollini, 22. Dan Isaack
Referee: Luke Pearce
Five-try Emerging Italy see off Spain
Emerging Italy 37-0 Spain
A dominant Emerging Italy recorded a comfortable win over Spain in the second match of the evening in the Tbilisi Cup.
Three first half tries and two in the second were enough to put the Italians back on track after their opening round loss to Argentina Jaguars and up to second in the table.
Andrea Cavinato's side were well on top in the first half and deserved their three tries, the pick of which was scored by captain Tommaso Castello on the stroke of half-time.
Fly half Edoardo Padovani got Emerging Italy on the board with an early penalty goal before a powerful driving maul ended with second rower Filippo Gerosa bundling over for his side’s first score.
Winger Michele Visentin scored Emerging Italy’s second try after 25 minutes of play. A patient build up ended in the ball being passed wide to Visentin who showed great strength to dot down in the corner.
Pick of the bunch
15-0 became 22-0 with the last play of the first half. Italy broke from their own 22 with Tommaso Boni breaking the line and drawing the full back to give his captain an easy run in.
The Azzuri's dominance continued in the second half and it only took 10 minutes for their bonus point try to be chalked up. Quick hands down the short side allowed another lock forward, this time Michele Andreotti, to score in the corner.
Scrum half Marcello Violi kicked a penalty goal to bring 30 points up and with five minutes remaining substitute fly half Carlo Canna finished off a brilliant team move that saw the ball offloaded out of the tackle on three occasions. The conversion made it 37-0.
After the match Spain coach Santiago Santos was disappointed that his side could not at least match their opening round performance against Georgia. "We have taken a backward step if you compare the games,” he said. “They played with a quicker tempo than us and were stronger in the forwards. We had issues at the set piece and were denied possession which made it difficult for us."
Emerging Italy Captain Tommaso Castello asked for a response from his team after the defeat to Jaguars and he certainly got that. "We were very sad about Saturday's result so we wanted a reaction. I was very happy that they didn't score a point, our defence worked very well,” he said. “There is still a need for improvement but today is a big step forward."
Score sequence: (Emerging Italy first): 3-0, 10-0, 15-0, 22-0 HT, 27-0, 30-0, 37-0
Scorers: Emerging Italy: Tries: Gerosa (17), Visentin (25), Castello (40), Andreotti (50), Canna (75);
Penalties: Padovani (13) Violi (63); Conversions: Padovani (2), Ambrosini
Emerging Italy: 15. David Michael Odiete; 14. Simone Ragusi,13. Tommaso Boni; 12.Tommaso Castello ©, 11. Michele Visentin; 10. Edoardo Padovani, 9. Marcello Violi; 1. Andrea Lovotti; 2. Ornel Gega; 3. Rudy Biancotti; 4. Filippo Gerosa; 5. Michele Andreotti; 6. Maxime Mbanda’; 7. Emiliano Caffini; 8. Matteo Ferro
Replacements: 16. Giovanni Scalvi; 17. Luca Scarsini; 18. Jacopo Sarto; 19. Nicola Belardo; 20. Giulio Bisegni; 21. James Ambrosini; 22. Carlo Canna
Spain: 15. Javier Carrion; 14. Alejandro Gutierrez; 13. Pablo Fontes; 12. Daniel Ross Snee; 11. Segio Fernanadez; 10. Mariano Garcia; 9. Pablo Feijoo ©; 1. Francisco Javier Sanz; 2. Juan Anaya; 3. Jesus Moreno;4.Alejandro Blanco; 5. Ignacio Molina; 6. Manuel Mora; 7. Javier De Juan; 8. Adam Newton
Replacements: 16. Francisco Blanco; 17. Romain Asensi; 18. Agustin Ortiz; 19. Jose Luis Del Valle; 20. Francisco Coplet; 21. Alberto Diaz; 22. Facundo Munilla
Referee: Andrew McMenemy