Georgia savour record night against Romania
PALMERSTON NORTH, 28 Sept. - Georgia enjoyed a record evening at Arena Manawatu on Wednesday as they saw off Romania 25-9 in their Pool B match. Mamuka Gorgodze became his country’s leading try-scorer outright while the Lelos kicked six penalties in a World Cup match for the first time - and the most by any team at this tournament.
Merab Kvirikashvili kicked five penalties, equalling the most in a match at Rugby World Cup 2011, set by France's Morgan Parra against Canada. The sixth came from Malkhaz Urjukashvili, who had shared the try-scoring record with Gorgodze before this match.
Gorgodze crashed over in the 56th minute for his 19th Test try after the Georgians had laid siege to the Romanian line, stringing together 17 phases. Merab Kvirikashvili’s conversion made it 19-6.
Kvirikashvili and Romanian replacement full back Florin Adrian Vlaicu traded penalties to make it 22-9, then Urjukashvili took over the kicking duties to put Georgia 25-9 ahead and seal their second victory at a Rugby World Cup - their first came when they beat Namibia 30-0 at RWC 2007.
Goalkicking dominated the first half, with Georgia fly half Kvirikashvili kicking four penalties and his opposite number Marin Danut Dumbrava slotting two to leave the Lelos 12-6 ahead.
There was plenty of attacking endeavour from both sides but it was matched by defensive commitment. The Romanian scrum got an early nudge on their opponents, showing the benefits of former All Black prop Steve McDowall's coaching role.
A penalty from a collapsed scrum gave Romania fly half Dumbrava an early chance but his kick failed. His opposite number Kvirikashvili didn't miss, putting Georgia 3-0 up, but Dumbrava soon hit back to level.
Another two penalties from Kvirikashvili nudged the score along to 9-3 before the fly halves exchanged kicks before the break for Georgia to go in 12-6 ahead.
Romania's coach and captain were philosophical after their fourth and final defeat at RWC 2011. "We thought we had improved our rugby, but when we play at this level we can see we have a lot of work to do," said coach Romeo Gontineac."Only with high-level games can you improve. There is still a big difference between us and the teams of the Six Nations."
"It is the end of the World Cup for us," said Romania captain Marius Tincu. "I hope to be here next time. The best team won, they played a physical game. We were tired, we played four days ago (against England on