The Scots rolled the Georgians in an arm-wrestle of a game, taking it five kicks to two.
The rain came down hard, but the Mole knows he’d be kidding himself if he ever thought it was going to be anything other than the game it turned out to be … even if it was played in Nevada. The Georgians have a powerful pack but are extremely limited behind the scrum, and while Andy Robinson picked a relatively adventurous Scottish backline [the two Lamont brothers, Max Evans and Nick de Luca], the Scots just aren’t a big-scoring side.
With that said, the Scottish pack stood up extremely well to a physical Georgian eight. If Kelly Brown was a deserving Man of the Match at No8, the rest of the forwards weren’t far behind him. Given the problems that the Scots suffered against the Romanian Oaks in their recent encounter, the Mole thought they could be in for a right licking against the Georgians at the scrum. It never happened. Props Jacobsen and Murray saw off highly-rated opposition in Clermont’s Zirakashvili, Brive’s Khinchagashvili and Toulon’s Kubriashvili. The Scottish second row of Hamilton and Hines provided a lot of power in the engine room and didn’t take any stoosh from the big Georgian pack.
In fact, Robinson deserves a lot of credit for his selection. He set out to meet fire with fire, putting out more or less all his toughest forwards and relying on the belief that their superior discipline would enable them to grind out a win. In the end, it did. Brown was a hard-nose, hard-working No8, and Alastair Strokosch put in a serious stint at the coalface on the blindside. Ross Rennie had a hard-working game, although he was comically caught offering dummies to about three Scottish players at the base of a ruck, with nobody willing to take the ball off him.
Gorgodze looked a little misused at openside [although he plays there quite regularly for Montpellier, in fairness] and found himself first at the ruck and securing ball a lot, rather than running in midfield. The Scottish defense dealt with him and with big No8 Basilaia well, gang-tackling them and even stripping Gorgodzilla of the ball twice in contact.
The Georgians really had nothing outside No10, and even if they had, it wasn’t the night for it. Kvirikashvili, their outhalf and placekicker, bagged their only points on the night, but never really struck any of his attempted drop-goals well. Their discipline was iffy all night long, and there’s a serious problem in communicating with the referee: very few of the Georgians have serviceable English, from what you could make out from the on-pitch microphones. The Mole even felt sorry for Bronson Clancy out there!