Wales vs Georgia – Report – Friendly 2017 – 18 Nov, 2017

Rugby


5:56 PM GMT

  • ESPN staff

Wales held on for a nerve-shredding victory over Georgia, who came within three metres of earning a draw in Cardiff.

Hallam Amos scored the only try of the game in the first half, but the match came down to a 14-man goalline stand by Wales as time expired.

Wales had dominated territory through the first quarter of the match, but the closest they had come to a try was when Alex Cuthbert was held up over the line by a superb tackle by Georgia scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze.

A Rhys Priestland penalty was all Wales had to show for their dominance until midway through the first half, when a fine move from right to left saw Hallam Amos as the spare man and he was free to dive over the line for a try, which Priestland converted.

Amos looked to have doubled his tally with a great breakaway try five minutes later, but it was pulled back for a penalty and eventually Soso Matiashvili slotted Georgia’s first three points of the game.

Wales turned down an easy three points at the end of the first half in favour of trying to push over from a lineout, but there was a knock-on in the ensuing maul and the half ended with the hosts 10-3 in front.

Georgia also landed the first three points of the second half through a Matiashvili penalty and there were some nervous glances being exchanged in the Principality Stadium as Wales struggled to string together meaningful possession.

Priestland re-established Wales’ seven-point advantage with a penalty midway through the second half, but the lack of fluency in their play continued to build the anxiety. The pressure building on the home side was best shown with a series of scrums on their own five-metre line in the closing 10 minutes. After a number of resets and penalties in Georgia’s favour, Wales finally managed to wheel the scrum around to devastating effect and earn a penalty of their own. The roar from the home crowd told its own story.

Still Georgia kept coming back and working through the phases. A penalty as time expired allowed them to kick for the corner and continue to make Wales sweat, and prop Tomas Francis was yellow-carded as Georgia set up camp inside the five-metre line. There was a lengthy delay as the referee established whether scrums could be contested or not, and once it was decided that they would not be, Georgia opted to kick again for a lineout.

After 11 phases of pick-and-drive from the forwards, Georgia’s discipline finally caved and a penalty for going off feet ended the game, much to the relief of Wales players and fans alike.

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