Aaron Wainwright named man of the match
“There’s a bit of relief,” he tells Amazon Prime. “We knew Georgia would be physical but you saw what we could do when we put some phases together.”
Full-time | Wales 18 Georgia 0
That’s it. The six-match losing streak is snapped and Wales are off the mark with a win in the Autumn Nations Cup. Two tries were enough as some stingy defence and powerful scrummaging kept Georgia to nil.
Wyn Jones, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Johnny Williams and, maybe, Louis Rees-Zammit put their hands up to start against England with Callum Sheedy tidy as well.
Try, Rhys Webb! Wales 18 Georgia 0, 77 minutes
That will be that. Fittingly, Williams sparks the move with a strong carry. Webb gets some quick ball and Sheedy moves it on to Rees-Zammit, who releases his scrum-half.
Sheedy cannot convert, but Wales are home and dry. Well, not dry. It’s soaking.
Wales 13 Georgia 0, 72 minutes
So close for Georgia. Full-back Lasha Khmaladze benefits from a poor clearance from Rhys Webb to beat Nick Tompkins. He offloads to Merab Sharikadze, who cannot quite bring the slippery ball under control.
Wales 13 Georgia 0, 68 minutes
The ball spits out of a ruck close to halfway and James Botham has a chance for a debut try but Tedo Abzhandadze covers and cuts down the back-rower, who is promptly penalised for crawling on the floor.
Wales 13 Georgia 0, 66 minutes
Georgia come again but Tompkins is over the ball to foil them. Tricky period for Wales, this. They will want to get more than two scores ahead somehow.
Wales 13 Georgia 0, 64 minutes
Leon Brown is on for Samson Lee and wins a scrum penalty with his first involvement.
Wales 13 Georgia 0, 62 minutes
Georgia spread the ball wide and Tabutsadze makes ground close to their right touchline.
Davies is over the ball, legally, but knocks on. It’ll be a Georgia scrum just outside the Wales 22.
Wales 13 Georgia 0, 58 minutes
There is another powerful carry for Williams, who has been impressive, but Wales’ attack breaks down when Webb attempts an offload that goes loose.
Yellow card, Beka Saginadze!
Tipuric leaves on a stretcher and Saginadze will be heading for a 10-minute break. His swinging arm connected with Tipuric’s chin… it could have been a red, in all honesty.
Wales, who have brought on James Davies and Rhys Webb, go to the corner.
Wales 13 Georgia 0, 55 minutes
That’s nasty for Tipuric.
Rees-Zammit beats two or three defenders with a gliding run and offloaders to his captain but it looks like his head collided with the arm of Beka Saginadze.
Pearce stopped the game immediately because Tipuric appeared to be unconscious. Meanwhile, we are heading to the television match official…
Penalty, Callum Sheedy! Wales 13 Georgia 0, 52 minutes
Less than half an hour remaining, now. Not a classic, but the streak of losses is surely about to end.
Meanwhile, Johnny McNicholl has been replaced by Jonah Holmes.
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 50 minutes
A mistake from Georgia has let in Wales here. Akaki Tabutsadze seems to lose his bearings and carries Sheedy’s kick over the touchline.
Wales earn a penalty and Sheedy will have an easy chance to extend the lead.
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 47 minutes
Lee squeezes another scrum penalty out of Nariashvili and Liam Williams comes in to congratulate his forwards.
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 44 minutes
Sheedy misses the kick and Georgia force a breakdown penalty as Mikheil Nariashvili jackals over the top of Ball.
A great touch-kick follows but the Lelos spill inside the Wales 22.
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 42 minutes
A nice start for Wales in possession with Tompkins helping out Sheedy as a second distributor.
Jaba Bregvadze tackles James Botham and holds the debutant in a head-lock on the floor. Television match official Joy Neville spots it, and Wales are awarded a penalty.
Half-time | Wales 10 Georgia 0
Tedo Abzhandadze drags his attempt to the left. The hosts keep a 10-point lead heading into the second period.
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 42 minutes
Maybe not. Beka Gorgadze gets over the ball out wide to win a penalty, Georgia clear and then win a breakdown penalty of their own.
Hardy is adjudged not to have released the tackled player before attacking the ball…
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 39 minutes
It’s opening up a bit. Beka Gorgadze carries off the base of a messy Goergia scrum but Tipuric recovers to force a jackal turnover and Liam Williams skates past a couple of defenders.
Wales win a penalty and head to touch. They will end the half with a decent opportunity.
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 38 minutes
Frustrating for Georgia. Kote Mikautadze has made way. He’ll be replaced by Lasha Jaiani
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 32 minutes
Muscular stuff from Jake Ball. The lock surges through the Lelos maul and forces a turnover.
Wales 10 Georgia 0, 30 minutes
A good response from Georgia. They win a penalty shortly after the restart and head to the corner…
Try, Louis Rees-Zammit! Wales 10 Georgia 0, 27 minutes
No fuss. Tompkins carries hard and the ball is recycled. Hardy fizzes to Sheedy, who throws a cut-out to Rees-Zammit. The 19-year-old has his first Test try.
Sheedy converts from the touchline as well.
Wales 3 Georgia 0, 24 minutes
Nick Tompkins bustles to within a metre of the line and Pearce peeps for another Wales penalty. Scrum again. Sure this is a matter of time…
Wales 3 Georgia 0, 22 minutes
Sheedy lifts a kick-pass towards Liam Williams. Georgia spill forward and Rees-Zammit goes close. We come back for the penalty and Wales opt to take a scrum.
Wales 3 Georgia 0, 20 minutes
Wales are pounding away at the Georgia try-line and have penalty advantage now, too.
Wales 3 Georgia 0, 17 minutes
Wales have a put in just outside the Georgia 22 and Hardy snipes, making ground and earning a breakdown penalty. Sheedy will dink the penalty into the corner.
Wales 3 Georgia 0, 14 minutes
As I type that, the hosts cough up a lineout with Dee’s throw sailing over Seb Davies.
Wales 3 Georgia 0, 12 minutes
Williams is putting together a convincing debut. He punches up-field from a lineout and then creates some space out wide with a clever pass.
Aaron Wainwright spills Tompkins’ tip-on but this young Wales side seem increasingly comfortable.
Wales 3 Georgia 0, 10 minutes
What a start from Wyn Jones and Samson Lee.
Georgia’s restart sails out on the full and Georgia are splintered from the ensuing scrum.
Penalty, Callum Sheedy! Wales 3 Georgia 0, 9 minutes
One for the tight five. Wales’ strong opening to the scrummaging exchanges continues, forcing a penalty.
Sheedy steps up and strokes through the posts from about 40 metres. A lovely settler.
Wales 0 Georgia 0, 5 minutes
Georgia will have the put-in to the first scrum and there are some handbags.
Wales managed to disrupt the visitors’ set piece but Georgia recover and Louis Rees-Zammit spills a box-kick.
It’s a promising start from Levan Maisashvili’s men.
Wales 0 Georgia 0, 2 minutes
Callum Sheedy kicks to touch. A good opportunity for Wales to get a foot-hold here.
Elliot Dee finds Jake Ball and the maul ekes out metres before Williams carries in midfield…
We’re away! Referee Luke Pearce gets us started and Georgia start things off. Nick Tompkins gathers and Kieran Hardy clears from the base of the breakdown.
There’s a bit of kick-tennis, and a jackal turnover from Wyn Jones, before Merab Sharikadze flops off his feet to concede a penalty.
Wow. Some of the Lelos looked extremely emotional there as they belted out the anthem.
There are obligatory close-ups on each of Wales’ debutants, and Johnny Williams is sporting a superb moustache.
The players are out and it’s pretty wet here. It’ll have to be pretty functional from both sides, you would think.
Fifteen minutes until kick-off
We’re almost ready in Llanelli. The teams will be out shortly.
What to expect from Wales today
Wales have made 13 changes and start three debutants in this match. So what does captain Justin Tipuric think the hosts have in store?
It is an opportunity and boys know if they put their hands up – individually or as a team – it puts questions in the coach’s head. No one likes losing and it’s tough when you do. We have an opportunity on the weekend, where there are some fresh new faces who can put their hands up for that England game but the main thing is to get that win.In training you see boys get excited and there is a lot of energy. They are running around a lot but the more they learn and the more experienced they are it is putting that together and becoming as a team. Some of the training this week has been excellent and there has been a buzz and it is probably about keeping them calm and doing it in the right situations.
Here’s head coach Wayne Pivac:
There is pressure to get results now, but that will be ratcheted up in the Six Nations and we’re aware of that. We’ll learn a lot not only about the young players and how they fit into the group and planning through to the World Cup, but also about the elder statesman too and where they’re at with their games and the work which needs to be done.In some cases post-lockdown, it’s about getting them back to where they were pre-lockdown. Some of our world-class players are probably by their own admission not hit their straps yet. It’s a case of learning for everybody and understanding that when it comes to the Six Nations, everyone will have to be playing at a high level for their clubs.
It won’t have escaped your notice that a certain James Botham is starting for Wales today. For everything you need to know about the Botham sporting dynasty, please do read this piece by Ben Coles: Inside story: How back-garden cricket with grandfather Ian fuelled James Botham’s meteoric rise
Here’s a taster:
A young boy is crouched down, hands outstretched, awaiting a catch in a game of back-garden cricket as his grandfather takes guard in front of the wicket.It is a scene familiar to families up and down the country. The difference for that boy in question, James Botham, was that his grandad, Ian, was arguably England’s greatest ever cricketer, and now a peer of the realm. “He would have a cigar in his mouth, a glass of wine in one hand and a cricket bat in the other!” recalls James, the 22-year-old flanker who makes his Wales debut on Saturday against Georgia. “I did ask the question to my grandmother: ‘Was he any good at cricket?’ She said: ‘He was alright at some point!’
Wales are desperate. Wayne Pivac’s charges are on a six-Test losing streak and, you sense, there will be severe consequences if they do not snap it against Georgia this evening in Llanelli.
England dispatched the Lelos 40-0 at Twickenham last weekend, but the visitors remain eager to prove their worth over three remaining matches in the Autumn Nations Cup.
Just this week, skipper Merab Sharikadze suggested that the best way for his country to develop would be the creation of a franchise – perhaps based in Tbilisi – to join the Pro 14.
And they can call upon memories of a strong performance against Wales. At last year’s Rugby World Cup, Georgia were beaten 43-14 in Aichi.
However, in November 2017, they fought hard in Cardiff before eventually going down 13-6. Dan Lydiate needed to make 27 tackles for the hosts that day.
Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvili has made five changes to his line-up. Scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze, a replacement last weekend, is picked alongside fly-half Tedo Abzhandadze.
Sandro Todua starts on the left wing, as does Jaba Bregvadze at hooker and Kote Mikautadze at lock.
It might have been easy for Pivac to play it safe and retain familiar faces in pursuit of a morale-boosting win.
To his credit, and perhaps with one eye on a meeting with England next weekend, he has brought in a spate of youngsters.
Justin Tipuric captains the team but there are Test debuts for flanker James Botham, centre Johnny Williams and scrum-half Kieran Hardy.
Bristol Bears fly-half Callum Sheedy is handed a maiden start for Wales, as is rapid wing Louis Rees-Zammit. Watch out for the introduction of Ioan Lloyd, who would become a fourth first-capper, off the bench.
The nations begin the day in ninth and 12th, respectively, on the World Rugby rankings. Wales, the higher of the two, will want to reinforce a gap in quality with a convincing victory.
15. Liam Williams, 14. Johnny McNicholl, 13. Nick Tompkins, 12. Johnny Williams, 11. Louis Rees-Zammit, 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Kieran Hardy; 1. Wyn Jones, 2. Elliot Dee, 3. Samson Lee, 4. Jake Ball, 5. Seb Davies, 6. Justin Tipuric (captain), 7. James Botham, 8. Aaron Wainwright
Replacements: 16. Sam Parry, 17. Nicky Smith, 18. Leon Brown, 19. Cory Hill, 20. James Davies, 21. Rhys Webb, 22. Ioan Lloyd, 23. Jonah Holmes
15. Lasha Khmaladze, 14. Akaki Tabutsadze, 13. Giorgi Kveseladze , 12. Merab Sharikadze (captain.), 11. Sandro Todua, 10. Tedo Abzhandadze, 9. Vasil Lobzhanidze; 1. Mikheil Nariashvili, 2. Jaba Bregvadze, 3. Beka Gigashvili, 4. Grigor Kerdikoshvili, 5. Kote Mikautadze, 6. Otar Giorgadze, 7. Beka Saginadze, 8. Beka Gorgadze
Replacements: 16. Giorgi Chkoidze, 17. Guram Gogichashvili , 18. Lexo Kaulashvili, 19. Lasha Jaiani, 20. Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, 21. Gela Aprasidze, 22. Demur Tapladze, 23. Tamaz Mchedlidze
Source: The Telegraph Travels