Georgia 20 v 15 Portugal
ENC1A – Georgia Vs Portugal The return of the Lobos
Even if Portugal would have returned home from their weekend trip to Georgia empty-handed, their hard-nosed, never-say-die performance against the Rugby Europe reigning Champions on their home ground, which earned them a defensive bonus point, would have been enough to restore both their pride and self-respect, after the debacle of the first round against Romania.
Chris Thau looks at the way the Lobos fight-back in Tbilisi could shape the rest of their campaign in the Championship:
It was a yellow card infringement by the Germany match-hero hooker Zurab Zhavania in the dying seconds of the match that basically offered Portugal fullback Pedro Avilla Bettencour an opportunity to close the gap to five points and help his team acquire a defensive bonus point. The Clermont–Auvergne regular, who had an impeccable afternoon with the boot, kept his cool and did just that, landing his fifth penalty of the day, for a success rate of 100%. In the end, the difference between winning and losing the match was the try scored less than two minutes into the game by the talented Georgian Centre David Kacharava, one of the finds of the elite development programme initiated by coach Milton Haig and his assistant Michael Bradley in the domestic Georgian league.
It is quite strange how an early try could define a match. It would either signal the beginning of a deluge, or more often than not, it could act as a sobering cold-shower, igniting a fight-back that turned the underdog into a top dog. This was the case in Tbilisi, with the Portugal captain Vasco Uva challenging his teammates to show what they are made of, as they were confronted with a potential annihilation at the hand of a determined Georgian team.
The key factor in Portugal’s revival was the pack, with the new front five Francisco Fernadez, Mike Tadjer, Tony Martins, Miguel Vilaca and David dos Reis, holding their own against the normally assertive Georgian scrummaging. That gave the back row of Uva, Julien Bardy and Francisco Sousa the time and space to roam the field tackling.And they did just that, tackling their socks off while challenging the physical Georgians all over the field, earning not only the bonus point but the respect of their opponents. “To Portugal’s credit they defended very well. They are a good side and deserve respect,” said Georgia’s head coach Milton Haig.
As the match went on, the Lelos went on attacking, while the Lobos kept on defending, with Avila at the scoring end of Portugal’s occasional forays into Georgian territory. “We scored a try within the first two minutes and then went the rest of the game try-less, though we created several scoring opportunities. Unfortunately we were not able to finalise because of our mistakes, either with the last pass or last movement. Certainly there was no lack of motivation as eleven players got a chance to play for a place in the starting team for the rest of the tournament,” added Mr. Haig
The somewhat peculiar balance between attack and defence, between what the Georgians could throw at their opponents and the ability of the Portuguese to absorb punishment and then bounce back with a vengeance is being reflected in the slow progress of the score, with the five point (14-9) Lelos margin at the end of the first half being carried over to the end of the game thanks to three yellow cards and the subsequent penalties – of which two awarded some 10-15 minutes before time when both Georgia captain Sutiashvili and replacement Lobos prop Bruno Rocha got their marching orders and the third one at the very end.
In a word, as Portugal Head Coach Coach Joao Pinto explains, with the exception of the moment of absentmindedness of the start, which led to the Georgian try Portugal applied themselves throughout producing a heartening performance. “What we did differently compared to the Romanian game was to try to be more assertive in the set pieces in order to deny Georgia quality ball to attack with. Then it was tackling, more efficient and accurate, and then pressure – we did put them under pressure. We have sorted out our scrummage so we could control the source of Georgian possession denying them space and time and therefore attacking options. Everything was based good defensive line, pressure and great attitude from all players involved. Unfortunately, we did not start the game well. We were sleeping at the beginning of the game. Otherwise we would have not allowed them to score that try. Unlike the Romanian game where they dominated us up front, we matched Georgia in the scrum, put them under pressure at the lineout, and worked out ways to stop their driving maul. Had we played from the beginning the way we played the second half, probably we could have got another result.”
1. Karlen Asieshvili, (Mikheil Nariashvili 41stmin) 2. Zurab Zhvania, ( Shalva Mamukashvili, 41stmin) 3. Levan Chilachava, (David Zirakashvili 41st min) 4. Giorgi Chkhaidze (Giorgi Nemsadze 58 min), 5. Kote Mikautadze, 6. Dimitri Basilaia, 7. Shalva Sutiashvili (captain), 8. Lasha Lomidze ( Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 9. Giorgi Begadze. (Vasil Lobzhanidze 58th min) 10. Lasha Malaguradze,( Lasha Khmaladze 50thmin) 11. Muraz Giorgadze,( Giorgi Aptsiauri. 80th min) 12. Merab Sharikadze, 13. David Kacharava, 14. Tamaz Mchedlidze, 15. Merab Kvirikashvili,
Scorers: Try Kacharava; Pens Kivrikashvili (5)
Yellow Cards Sutiashvili, Zhvania
1.Francisco Fernadez, 2.Mike Tadjer, 3.Tony Martins,( Bruno Rocha 67th min) 4.David dos Reis, 5.Miguel Vilaca (Salvador Vassal 62ndmin) 6. Vasco Uva (captain), 7.Julien Bardy, 8 Francisco Sousa, 9. Francisco Magalhanes 10. Nuno Costa 11. Tomas Noronha 12. TomasAppelton 13 Francisco Appelton, 14 Manuel Murteira, (Manuel Pereira min 50th) 15 Pedro Avila
Scorers: Avila Pgs (5)
Yellow Card Rocha
Referee: Vlad Iordachescu (Romania)
Georgia 1. Karlen Asieshvili, 2. Zurab Zhvania, 3. Levan Chilachava, 4. Giorgi Chkhaidze, 5. Kote Mikautadze, 6. Dimitri Basilaia, 7. Shalva Sutiashvili (CAP), 8. Lasha Lomidze 9. Giorgi Begadze. 10. Lasha Malaguradze, 11. Muraz Giorgadze, 12. Merab Sharikadze, 13. David Kacharava, 14. Tamaz Mchedlidze, 15. Merab Kvirikashvili,
16.Shalva Mamukashvili, 17. Mikheil Nariashvili, 18. David Zirakashvili, 19. Giorgi Nemsadze, 20. Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 21. Vasil Lobzhanidze, 22. Lasha Khmaladze, 23. Giorgi Aptsiauri.
Portugal 1.Francisco Fernadez, 2.Mike Tadjer, 3.Tony Martins, 4.David dos Reis, 5.Miguel Vilaca 6. Vasco Uva (captain), 7.Julien Bardy, 8 Francisco Sousa, 9. Francisco Magalhanes 10. Nuno Costa 11. Tomas Noronha 12. Tomas Appelton 13 Francisco Appelton, 14 Manuel Murteira, 15 Pedro Avila
16. Bruno Medeiros, 17 Nuno Taful, 18. Bruno Rocha 19.Diogo Torn, 20. Salvador Vassal 21.Maxime Tonietta, 22. Duarte Marques, 23 Manuel Pereira Referee: Vlad Iordachescu (Rom) TJ : Radu Petrescu (Rom) Ionut Bodea (Rom)
RR World Rankings outcome on Result 20-15 Win to Georgia
GEO (on 70.51 points) at home -vs- POR (on 57.87 points)
|New GEO Rating||New POR Rating||Will POR overtake GEO?|
|GEO win by 5pts
2014-16 European Nations Cup > ENC 1A
|1||RESULT||7/02/2015||Portugal||10 v 37||Romania|
|2||RESULT||7/02/2015||Spain||43 v 20||Russia|
|4||RESULT||14/02/2015||Georgia||20 v 15||Portugal|
|5||RESULT||14/02/2015||Romania||29 v 08||Spain|
|6||RESULT||14/02/2015||Germany||22 v 46||Russia|
|7||NEXT||28/02/2015||Spain||00 v 00||Georgia|
|8||NEXT||28/02/2015||Russia||00 v 00||Romania|
|9||NEXT||28/02/2015||Portugal||00 v 00||Germany|
|10||Not .Played||14/03/2015||Georgia||00 v 00||Russia|
|11||Not .Played||14/03/2015||Portugal||00 v 00||Spain|
|12||Not .Played||14/03/2015||Germany||00 v 00||Romania|
|13||Not .Played||21/03/2015||Romania||00 v 00||Georgia|
|14||Not .Played||21/03/2015||Russia||00 v 00||Portugal|