Georgia cruise past abject Russia
As expected, Georgia brushed past a rather inept Russia in their latest European Nations Cup game and with just a re-arranged match against the Ukraine to play, the Georgians now head the table in group 1a.
The result itself came as no surprise but the Bears would have been disappointed with the manner and margin of the loss in Tblisi and to compound their frustration, some wayward penalty kicking from Anton Ryabov denied them the chance to get points on the board.
Georgia 46:0 Russia
Russias cause wasnt helped by their inability to call upon Aviva Premiership players and as a result they started with a weakened team which was further depleted by the loss of Simplikevich and Ostroushko. With Korshunov, Ostrikov and Artemyev already ruled out, it looked like a case of playing for pride and damage limitation.
While not at full strength, Georgia were helped by a blank weekend in Top 14 Rugby and as such, the imbalance in the two sides was evident from the outset. However, that imbalance didnt translate into points until mid-way through the first half.
After an early penalty miss of his own, Kvirikashvili took Georgia into a three point lead but two missed kicks from Ryabov squandered Russias best chance to sneak an advantage. As it was, Georgias greater ability finally overcame the visitors in the 25th minute when Gorgodze crossed over for a converted try.
A further seven points were added thanks to Chkhaidzes try and Kvirikashvilis boot to take the home side into a clear lead at the break.
Half time Georgia 17:0 Russia
The second half was, to use an old sporting cliché, one way traffic and after a 43rd minute penalty extended the Georgian lead, Machkhaneli crossed the try line shortly afterwards and Kvirikashvili added the points to make it 27:0.
The Russian defence struggled on but their line was breached on three further occasions by Datunashvili, Nemsadze and Machkhaneli again. With two successful additions from the boot, Georgia romped to a deserved victory by a comfortable margin.
Full time Georgia 46:0 Russia
The result leaves Georgia at the head of group 1a and a victory with a bonus point over the Ukraine will see them secure the title once again. It will be a fitting and happy end to what has been a mixed campaign at times.
For Russia however, the ENC ends in disappointment and for fans of the Bears, there is a deflated feeling after a good showing at the 2011 World Cup. The major problem seems to be an inability for the coach to call on his best players and if that situation continues, how can Russia hope to improve as a rugby playing nation?