Georgia issued a dosage of reality to Uruguay when they beat them 33-7 in Kumagaya City on Sunday.
Just four days after their stunning upset of Fiji, the South Americans were void of energy and muscle against a very physical Georgia team that had almost a whole week to recover from their loss to Wales last Monday.
While Uruguay put up some stern resistance in the first half, trailing just 7-12 at the break, in the second half they ran out of puff.
Georgia added three more tries to their two first-half scores – keeping their opponents scoreless in a scrappy second half.
A dominant forward display laid the foundation for an impressive victory by Georgia, who will now target an upset against Australia on October 11 as their path to a shock quarterfinal place from Pool D.
Georgia coach Milton Haig had targeted Sunday’s clash as a “must-win” game and made 12 changes from the side that lost 14-43 to Wales.
And it was his side – ranked six places above Uruguay – that started the brighter, a sustained spell of forward dominance at the scrum leaving space out wide for winger Alexander Todua to score in the left corner.
Both sides struggled to impose themselves early in energy-sapping humidity in Kumagaya, which saw the first water breaks at this year’s World Cup.
Georgia’s next score came on the half-hour mark. The forwards shoved Uruguay back with another powerful scrum, leaving No.8 Otari Giorgadze to pick up at the base and dive over.
Uruguay hit back against the run of play, a clever inside ball slicing up the Georgian defence and leaving inside centre Andres Vilaseca a free run in under the posts.
Esteban Meneses’ men could have reduced their arrears further, but Felipe Berchesi pushed a penalty attempt wide and the teams turned with Georgia leading 12-7.
Georgia extended their advantage only minutes after half-time, with Uruguay again unable to resist pressure from the heavy forwards and letting prop Levan Chilachava force his way over for a try brilliantly converted from the touchline.
A catch-and-drive from a line-out finished off by Giorgadze secured the bonus-point for Georgia as Uruguay found no answer to the heavier pack.
Uruguay was wilting in the heat and humidity, and a tired error on their own line let outside centre Giorgi Kveseladze in for an easy try to put the result well beyond doubt.
And with only three minutes left on the clock, Uruguayan replacement Facundo Gattas saw a red card for a high shoulder charge to the head, the tournament’s second on-pitch dismissal.
Tries: Todua, Giorgadze, Chilachava, Bregvadze, Kveseladze
Cons: Abzhandadze 4
Red card: Facundo Gattas (Uruguay, 77 – foul play; shoulder charge to the head)
Georgia: 15 Lasha Khmaladze, 14 Zura Dzneladze, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Lasha Malaguradze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Tedo Abzhandadze, 9 Gela Aprasidze, 8 Otari Giorgadze, 7 Beka Saginadze, 6 Shalva Sutiashvili, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Lasha Lomidze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Jaba Bregvadze (captain), 1 Guram Gogichashvili.
Replacements: 16 Vano Karkadze, 17 Beka Gigashvili, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Mamuka Gorgodze, 20 Beka Gorgadze, 21 Vasil Lobzhanidze, 22 Merab Sharikadze, 23 Soso Matiashvili.
Uruguay: 15 Gaston Mieres, 14 Nicolas Freitas, 13 Juan Manuel Cat, 12 Andres Vilaseca, 11 Rodrigo Silva, 10 Felipe Berchesi, 9 Santiago Arata, 8 Alejandro Nieto, 7 Santiago Civetta, 6 Juan Manuel Gaminara (captain), 5 Manuel Leindekar, 4 Ignacio Dotti, 3 Juan Pedro Rombys, 2 German Kessler, 1 Mateo Sanguinetti.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Gattas, 17 Juan Echeverria, 18 Diego Arbelo, 19 Diego Magno, 20 Juan Diego Ormaechea, 21 Manuel Ardao, 22 Agustin Ormaechea, 23 Leandro Leivas.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
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