Scotland 36-9 Georgia: Gregor Townsend’s side win final World Cup warm-up
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By Andy Burke
BBC Scotland in Murrayfield
Scotland pulled of Murrayfield away from a Georgia from the second half to earn their third win matches.
It was a one-point game at the break, with attempts by Ali Price and Blair Kinghorn met by three Tedo Abzhandadze penalties.
But Sam Johnston tries by Darcy Graham, also darted over to border the Scots clear, along with the Horne brothers – Pete and George – sealed success in Scotland’s final match before their opener Japan against Ireland on 22 September.
It was a performance in area together with the Georgians demonstrating more belligerent than in past weekend fixture in Tbilisi.
The story of Scotland’s summertime had been one of improvement. A disheartening hammering in Nice at the hands of France accompanied by a win over Les Bleus at Murrayfield, and then a comprehensive dismantling of Georgia.
Having named his final 31-man squad for the World Cup on Tuesday, Townsend chose to take a lot of his big guns – the likes of Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw, Hamish Watson, John Barclay and Stuart McInally – outside of the line of fire.
With so many changes, the Scots took some time to get in their stride, but following a frustrating opening 15 minutes they began to cut. Kinghorn established the counter-attack and, even after incursions from Johnson and Graham, Price dived over for a try that was brilliant.
Seconds later, Adam Hastings’ crossfield-kick that was pinpoint discovered Graham, who did to offload.
Three penalties against Abzhandadze meant, despite these two Scotland attempts, we had a one-point game and the buoyancy turned into stress from the crowd as the people ended the half stronger. Fly-half Abzhandadze was growing in influence and his eye for a gap was providing Scotland issues.
A try to take some wind from the Georgia sails was had by the hosts, plus they obtained it 10 minutes following the rest. Blade Thomson and ryan Wilson punctured the defence and, for the very first time, Scotland showed great inspiration to keep prodding and probing until Hastings managed to ship Johnson untouched under the sticks.
The attempt did little to lift the atmosphere of frustration together with the error count, inside Murrayfield through the roof because the home side struggled to stitch five phases of play together.
This wasn’t exactly the try-laden display the supporters came to see to Japan for the, also in that the first priority was securing the win.
The game was secure when Duncan Taylor whipped out a long pass to Chris Harris, who drew two defenders and slid to race in Graham the touchline.
The people’ opposition was now disintegrating and substitute George Horne darted through a ropey fringe defence to get down for try number five, before brother Peter came from the bench to get in on the action, capitalising on some mad Georgian play deep inside their own land.
Ultimately a victory for the Scots before the serious stuff starts in Japan. When their key men return, They’ll be better, and when they take on the initial up, they will have to be.
Scotland: B Kinghorn; T Seymour; D Taylor, S Johnson; D Graham; A Hastings, A Price; G Reid, G Turner, Z Fagerson; S Cummings, J Gray; R Wilson (capt), J Ritchie, B Thomson.
Replacements: G Stewart, A Dell, S Berghan, B Toolis G Horne C Harris.
Georgia: S Matiashvili; Z Dzneladze; D Katcharava, L Malaghuradze; M Modebadze; T Abzhandadze, V Lobzhanidze; M Nariashvili (capt), S Mamukashvili, B Gigashvili; K Mikautadze, G Nemsadze; S Sutiashvili, G Tkhilaishvili, B Gorgadze.
Replacements: B Saghinadze, G Kveseladze, T Mtchhedlidze, G Aprasidze, V Karkadze, G Gogichashvili, G Melkidze, L Lomidze.
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