Georgia surprise Wales with victory in Cardiff

Georgia surprise Wales with victory in Cardiff

Jac Morgan scored twice for Wales but was denied a hat-trick by a knock-out
Wales (12) 12
Try: Morgana 2 The inconvenients: Priesthood
Georgia (3) 13
Try: All The inconvenients: He is happy Pens: Abzhandadze, Matkava

Georgia produced their best ever result with a shock win over dismal Wales in Cardiff.

Substitute Luka Matkava kicked in a 78th-minute penalty to prove the Georgian hero.

Wayne Pivac’s side had taken a 12-3 lead thanks to two tries from Jac Morgan.

But Georgia responded in the second half with an Alexander Todua try and Matkava’s boot to create history and spark wild celebrations.

The defeat, in a year in which Wales also lost at home to Italy, will put Pivac’s position under intense scrutiny, less than a year before the World Cup in France.

Georgia had beaten Italy in the summer, but this result will further bolster calls for their introduction into the Six Nations.

On the Pivac side, it’s hard to see where they go from here.

Wales end the Autumn Nations campaign against Australia next Saturday after a performance well below what could be expected from this international side.

A 55-23 hammering handed out by the All Blacks in the opener was followed by a gutsy 20-13 win over Argentina that was built on a determined defense.

It raised hopes for a more cohesive Pivac outfit, but this inane display dispelled that theory.

A useless attacking unit from Wales was again under the microscope as it could not consistently break through the Georgian defence.

The hosts failed to score after 24 minutes and were deservedly defeated by a better side who dominated opponents who seemed to lack desire and structure.

Wales have suffered historic humiliating defeats at home, including to Romania in 1988, Western Samoa in 1991, Canada in 1993 and Italy earlier this year. This result rivals those past losses.

It was Georgia’s first victory in four attempts against Wales and a victory 11 months before the World Cup meeting between the two teams in Nantes.

Consistency in selection

In Georgia’s last two visits to Wales, they have proven bitter opponents, with the home side winning 13-6 in 2017 and 18-0 two years ago.

Pivac made fewer changes than normally associated with this game, with six changes to the team that defeated Argentina, two of those injuries imposed after the loss of Will Rowlands and Dan Lydiate.

Winger Josh Adams returned from injury with fly-half Rhys Priestland and center Owen Watkin starting while Ben Carter, Morgan and uncapped Josh Macleod were included in the squad.

Macleod, normally a flanker, made his Test debut at number eight to eventually earn his first cap after a long wait.

The 26-year-old was chosen to start against Scotland in the 2021 Six Nations, only to rupture his Achilles tendon in training hours later.

Wales, who wore black armbands to mark the death of former coach John Ryan, got off to a bad start from Georgia’s kickoff and conceded an early penalty with Tedo Abzhandadze on the kick .

The hosts responded from a well-worked practice ground move involving locks Adam Beard and Carter before Morgan blasted their way unopposed for an international first down. Priestland converted from the touchline.

Morgan popped up on the right touchline again for a second score after benefiting from incisive build-up work from North, Cuthbert and Tomos Williams.

Cardiff Williams’ scrum-half was nearly embroiled in a brilliant third try for Wales with his basketball-style overhead pass finding Adams who got ahead and sprinted. His efforts were in vain, however, as Williams’ pass was deemed to have been forward.

Wales were leading 12-3 at half-time and would have been frustrated not to be further ahead – opportunities were wasted by unnecessary kicks and a formula-based attacking approach was relied upon.

Wasteful Wales continued to be unconvincing in the attacking third and winger Cuthbert was shown a yellow card for an aerial challenge on Todua as he chased a high ball.

Cardiff’s crowd of 63,585 gave their verdict on the show’s entertainment value as they produced their own Mexican wave.

Macleod was replaced by Taulupe Faletau, who was playing his 99th international for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

Faletau was soon followed on the pitch by Exeter lock Dafydd Jenkins as the 19-year-old lock won his first cap.

Georgia capitalized on their power play from Cuthbert’s absence on a well-worked try for winger Todua who took a smart kick from Abzhandadze, who also converted to cut the deficit to two points.

When Cuthbert returned, Wales also removed Adams and brought in full-back Leigh Halfpenny, back for his first international in 16 months with a serious knee injury.

Georgia were rampant and dominated the aerial battle, with Abzhandadze missing a penalty chance to give Georgia the lead.

Morgan momentarily thought he had scored a hat-trick, but Faletau kicked the ball in the build-up.

The Georgian scrum started to dominate and forced the final penalty which Matkava overshot.

It left the visitors celebrating what they undeniably deserved and Pivac pondering what his future might be.

But to Georgia goes the applause. And rightly so.

Wales: Rees-Zammit; Cuthbert, North, Watkin, Adams; Priestland, T Williams; G Thomas, Owens, D Lewis, Carter, Beard, J Morgan, Tipuric (captain), J Macleod.

Replacements: B Roberts, R Jones, S Wainwright, D Jenkins, Faletau, Blacker, Costelow, Halfpenny.

Georgia: Niniashvili; Modebadze, Tapladze, Sharikadze (captain), Todua; Abzhandadze, Lobzhanidze; Gogichashvili, Chkoidze, Papidze, Cheishvili, Mikautadze, Gorgadze, Saginadze, Jalagonia.

Replacements: Mamukashvili, Abuladze, Kuntelia, Chachanidze, Mamamtavrishvili, Matkava, Khmaladze, Lomidze.

Arbitrator: Andrea Piardi (FIR)

Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (FFR), Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR)

TMO: Brendon Pickerill (NZR).

#Georgia #surprise #Wales #victory #Cardiff

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