Rugby

Impressive Scots steamroll Georgia

2016-11-26 19:04
Stuart Hogg (Getty Images)

Kilmarnock - Scotland absorbed the shock of conceding a fourth minute try to scrumhalf Vasil Lobzhanidze before steamrollering Georgia with six tries of their own.

Fullback Stuart Hogg scored tries in both halves, while there were also tries for wingers Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland and flank Hamish Watson, plus a penalty try as the Scots ran out convincing winners on the plastic pitch that is home to Kilmarnock Football Club.

With scrumhalf and captain Grieg Laidlaw registering a perfect six out of six place-kicking record (five conversions and a penalty), Scotland head coach Vern Cotter enjoyed a comfortable victory against a Georgia side coached by Milton Haig, his former playing and coaching partner at Bay of Plenty in New Zealand.

For Cotter, who will move on to French Top-14 side Montpellier when Gregor Townsend replaces him in June, it completed an encouraging November series, following on from a 23-22 loss to Australia and a 19-16 win against Argentina.

For Haig and Georgia, following their 20-16 victory over Samoa in Tblisi last week, the size of the defeat came as a blow to their long-term ambitions of being added to an expanded Six Nations Championship.

It was from a line-out drive after four minutes that the Georgians struck the first blow, Lobzhanidze scampering down the blindside to score in the right corner.

Full-back Merab Kvirikashvili was off target with the conversion but the sizeable contingent of Georgian supporters in the crowd had a 5-0 lead to celebrate.

Not that they were cheering for long. The only previous encounter between the countries - a 15-6 win for Scotland in Invercargill at the 2011 World Cup - had failed to yield a try but there were two in the opening eight minutes this time.

Hogg chipped a deftly-weighted kick into the left corner for Seymour to touch down. Laidlaw's conversion furnished Scotland with a 7-5 lead and they soon stretched the gap to nine points.

With 14 minutes gone Cotter had the satisfaction of watching his forwards trundling the Georgian pack back to their own line, referee Matt Carley awarding a penalty try and sending Montpellier lock Konstantine Mikautadze to the sin bin for trying to pull down the Scottish maul.

Laidlaw landed the conversion and then - after Kvirikashvili had been successful with his first penalty attempt - the Scotland scrumhalf fed in Maitland for the home team’s third try in the right corner after 19 minutes.

Following an exchange of successful penalties by Laidlaw and Kvirikashvili, the Scots had their fourth try on the board after 34 minutes: a dazzling solo effort by Hogg, who collected his own kick to run in from 40 metres.

Laidlaw’s conversion gave Scotland a 31-11 lead at the interval and they did not waste time getting back into their stride after the break, Watson picking up from the back of a driven line out and darting over for his first international try after 41 minutes.

After conversion number five for Laidlaw, however, Scotland took their foot off the gas and conceded a second try after 53 minutes, Lobzhanidze scoring after the Georgia pack drove their Scottish counterparts back over their own tryline.

Scotland prop Moray Low was yellow carded for a scrum offence in the 73rd minute but, despite their numerical disadvantage, replacements Ali Price and Rory Hughes combined to tee up Hogg for his second try after 76 minutes.

Read more on:    georgia  |  scotland  |  grieg laidlaw  |  rugby
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