Wales v Georgia - Rugby World Cup Match Report
Wales successfully embarked on their journey to banish the ghosts of World Cups past with a solid 43-14 outing against a spirited Georgia in their opening pool match. A classy first half showing was more than enough for Warren Gatland’s men to glide past the side ranked number 12 in the world. This was a performance of contrasting halves though with a fluent first 40 minutes followed by a scrappy second.
Six tries from Jonathan Davies, Justin Tipuric, Josh Adams, Liam Williams, Tomos Williams and George North included four in the first half - enough to merit the Welsh as the first side at the World Cup to wrap up a bonus point before the break.
Plenty of positives and a hint of weakness to contemplate before the Aussies
A lack of tries in the warm-up fixtures had been something of an issue for the Welsh, so half a dozen and from an assortment of players bodes well for the rest of the competition.
Mamukashvili & Chilachava went over for Georgia after the break in humid conditions inside the Toyota Stadium, the venue perhaps best known as being the occasional home to J1 League club Nagoya Grampus.
The first game against Georgia looked straightforward enough for the Welsh on paper, but with much at this first World Cup to be held outside of rugby’s traditional strongholds being billed as an unknown, it could have presented as a match with potential for a banana-skin slip-up.
If Wales took their foot off the gas in the second period and demonstrated some vulnerability, then there were positives to emerge too. Plenty of point-scoring against an opposition who provided a decent test will please Gatland but there remain areas to work on. A hint of weakness in the scrum and two tries conceded in the second half from a lack of concentration gives the Welsh food for thought ahead of Sunday's next game.
The Welsh arrived in Japan as Grand Slam winners amidst an air of cautious optimism that this 2019 team can truly challenge for the Webb Ellis Cup. That belief will at least have been reaffirmed with this opening victory.
With Australia topping Pool D over the weekend following their 39-21 bonus point victory over Fiji on Saturday, it was crucial that Wales followed suit to pick up five points, and disappoint they did not. The Welsh follow Ireland and England as the home nations to pick up the maximum reward from their opening fixture of the World Cup.
With the game largely sewn up in the first period, Gatland was at least able to get a few of his key players off the pitch with the crunch match in the group against the Aussies up next.
Wales are 5/7 favourites to win against Australia with Bet UK’s rugby betting.
Key moments and man of the match
It only took until the third minute for Wales to open the scoring, much to the delight of the 15,000 Welsh fans packed into the Toyota Stadium. This was the fastest try scored by a Welsh side at any World Cup with centre Jonathon Davies opening up the Georgian defence following a polished set-piece move from the scrum.
Flanker Tipuric added a second with a clever move to enable Dan Biggar to secure a successful conversion following an inexplicable miss from his first opportunity. Wing Adams then showed his acceleration and pace to secure a third. A well-worked fourth on the cusp of the break secured the bonus with Liam Williams going over following some nifty interplay between Scarlets pair Gareth Davies and Jonathon Davies.
The second half began with a jitter for the Welsh with Georgia securing a try from hooker Shalva Mamukashvili and a successful conversion by fly-half Tedo Abzhandadze.
With Wales appearing as if they’d simply run out of ideas as the second half progressed, scrum-half Tomos Williams powered over from a Gareth North chip before Georgia responded once more with a second try from Bregvadze. Wales ensured they emerged from a testing encounter on a high with a final try from North.
Jake Ball was nominated man of the match. The burly bearded lock battled through this bruising encounter in impressive style. Wales look ahead to the match against Australia with injury and fitness concerns and they will need to replicate their first 40-minute form for the entire match against the Aussies to truly send a message to the rest of the World Cup field.
If you fancy Wales to go far in the Rugby World Cup after their impressive showing, they are currently 4/5 to reach the semi finals with Bet UK’s betting.
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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