Scotland warm up for Wales with comprehensive eight-try win over Georgia

Richard Bath
·4 min read
Hamish Watson scores his side's third try of the game  - PA
Hamish Watson scores his side's third try of the game - PA

Scotland 48 Georgia 7

This was mission accomplished ahead of next week's postponed Six Nations match in Wales as Scotland's forwards confronted and subdued Georgia's much-vaunted pack. This was an extraordinarily one-sided contest in which dominant Scotland comprehensively outclassed a disappointing Georgia to score eight tries. Quite how the visitors managed to register a try remains a mystery.

“It was certainly a strong hit-out for our forwards,” said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend. “There were errors from both teams and we didn’t get a lot of fluency in our attack, but the forward performance was excellent. The players know they have been in a tough, physical game which is excellent preparation for the step up next week.”

Scotland played a high tempo yet controlled, patient game, probing the Lelos until the cracks appeared. The Scots hogged the ball to such an extraordinary extent that the first meaningful Georgian foray into the Scotland half only came three minutes before the break.

Georgia simply could not get their hands on the ball, largely because their pack had no answers to the combative Scots' dynamism up front, with man of the match Hamish Watson carrying with real purpose and lording it at the tackle area. Scotland's big men were their main strike weapon, and it was no surprise that four of the first five tries were scored by forwards. 

Scotland captain Fraser Brown (centre) helped himself to two tries - PA
Scotland captain Fraser Brown (centre) helped himself to two tries - PA

Behind the pack, Townsend's men laboured to turn possession into points, although there was a notably sharper edge once Finn Russell made his long awaited return after 54 minutes. Townsend lauded the fly-half as he came on to win his 50th cap. “Finn played well and I thought his passing was outstanding,” he said. “He had a really positive impact on the game.”

Halfbacks Ali Price and Adam Hastings looked sparky throughout, but the jury remains firmly out on the experimental centre partnership of Chris Harris and James Lang, while despite his late try Blair Kinghorn had a night to forget as he missed touches and squandered two overlaps. On the credit column was the sight of debutant Duhan van der Merwe not only charging down the touchline but also coming off his wing looking for work, an appetite which led to his late try after a cute inside pass from Russell.

The one-sided pattern of the game was established early, Scotland laying siege to Georgia's line from the kick-off, Darcy Graham squirming over following a quick tap penalty after just two minutes. A Fraser Brown try from a lineout drive and a Watson score after an extended series of pick and gos put the Scots 17-0 clear at half-time.

A try from wing Akaki Lobzhanidze at the beginning of the second half after a Hastings knock-on came out of the blue, but normal service was instantly resumed with a second Brown try from a lineout drive. A third lineout drive try from replacement hooker Stuart McInally gave the Scots a 22-point lead as the match entered the last ten minutes and became increasingly open, Scotland scoring late tries through Van der Merwe, Graham and Kinghorn. By the end you had to feel sorry for the game but sorely outclassed Georgians.

Match details

Scotland: B Kinghorn; D Graham, C Harris, J Lang ((F Russell, 54), D van der Merwe; A Hastings, A Price (G Horne, 64); R Sutherland (O Kebble, 54), F Brown (capt (S McInally, 54)), Z Fagerson (S Berghan, 54), B Toolis, S Cummings (R Harley, 71), J Ritchie, H Watson (N Haining, 64), M Fagerson (C du Preez, 38).

Georgia: S Matiashvili; A Tabutsadze, D Tapladze, M Sharikadze (capt (G Aprasidze, 58)), S Todua (T Mchedlidze. 77); T Abzhandadze, V Lobzhanidze (G Kveseladze, 60); M Nariashvili (G Gogichashvili, 54), J Bregvadze (S Mamukashvili, 49), L Kaulashvili (G Melikidze, 40), N Cheishvili (G Javakhia, 71), G Kerdikoshvili, O Giorgadze (G Tkhilaishvili, 54), B Saghinadze, B Gorgadze.

Referee: A Ruiz (France)

Scorers: Try Graham 5-0; con Hastings 7-0; try Brown 12-0; try Watson 17-0; try Tabutsadze 17-5; con Lobzhanidze 17-7; try Brown 22-7; try McInally 27-7; con Hastings 29-7; try Van der Merwe 34-7; con Hastings 36-7; try Graham 41-7; try Kinghorn 46-7; con Hastings 48-7.