Wales 43-14 Georgia: Rugby World Cup match report, highlights and scorers

Josh Adams dives over to score for Wales
Josh Adams dives over to score for Wales

Wales opened their World Cup campaign with a 43-14 win over Georgia at the City of Toyota Stadium.

Wales 43-14 Georgia

Wales tryscorers: J Davies, Tipuric, Adams, L Williams, T Williams, North
Wales conversions: Biggar (4), Halfpenny
Wales penalties: Biggar

Georgia tryscorers: Mamukashvili, Chilachava
Georgia conversions: Abzhandadze (2)

Match highlights:

Wales v Georgia (43-14) | Rugby World Cup 2019 Highlights

Match report:

Wales launched their World Cup campaign in bonus point fashion by seeing off Georgia 43-14 at City of Toyota Stadium.

The Six Nations champions delivered a strong statement of intent less than a week before tackling Pool D rivals Australia as they put Georgia to the sword during a dominant first-half display.

Wales had a bonus point wrapped up by half-time after tries from centre Jonathan Davies, flanker Justin Tipuric, wing Josh Adams and full-back Liam Williams, with fly-half Dan Biggar kicking three conversions and a penalty.

And although the second period proved a much tighter affair - tries by hooker Shalva Mamukashvili and replacement prop Levan Chilachava accurately reflected a stirring Georgia recovery - Wales were never threatened.

Fly-half Tedo Abzhandadze kicked two conversions, while Biggar added the extras to Wales' fifth try from substitute scrum-half Tomos Williams before wing George North claimed a fine solo try that Leigh Halfpenny converted.

Wales went into the game in the wake of assistant coach Rob Howley being sent home from Japan last week for an alleged breach of World Rugby's betting regulations.

Howley, 48, returned to Wales to assist with an investigation relating to a potential breach of World Rugby regulation six - specifically betting on rugby union.

But Wales showed no sign of a hangover from those difficult few days, blasting from their starting blocks and producing some high-tempo rugby that bristled with attacking verve, pinpoint accuracy and tactical authority to finish Georgia by the break.

Skipper Alun Wyn Jones equalled the Wales appearance record, matching prop Gethin Jenkins' mark of 129 Tests, while Dragons flanker Aaron Wainwright made a World Cup debut two days before his 22nd birthday.

It took Wales just three minutes to open their account, with Gareth Davies breaking quickly from a scrum and sending Jonathan Davies through a huge midfield gap.

Jonathan Davies finished with ease, and although Biggar somehow hit the post with his conversion attempt from straight in front of the posts, Wales were off and running, 5-0 ahead.

Biggar then made amends for his earlier blunder, kicking a short-range penalty that put Wales eight points clear after seven minutes, before Tipuric added a second try following strong running by Gareth Davies and Adams.

Wales were all over their opponents during the opening quarter, and it was no surprise when a second try arrived after 13 minutes.

Biggar's slick pass put Adams into space and - despite a supporting Gareth Davies being tackled - Tipuric gathered recycled possession and touched down, with Biggar adding the extras.

It was very comfortable for Wales, and Adams then finished brilliantly following a 40-metre run after Biggar's clever inside ball, and another successful conversion from the fly-half made it 22-0.

Georgia's trademark scrummaging power surfaced when they finally moved close to Wales' 22, but a lack of poise and precision with ball in hand denied them a chance to cut the deficit.

Wales finished a one-sided first half back on the attack, and a bonus-point try arrived when more impressive work by Jonathan Davies resulted in an opportunity for full-back Liam Williams that he gratefully accepted.

Biggar's successful conversion took it to 29-0, and Wales were out of sight with half the game remaining.

Georgia began the second period in lively fashion, reverting to a strong driving lineout, and Mamukashvili scored a try from one such show of power, before his replacement Jaba Bregvadze was sin-binned shortly afterwards for illegally halting a Wales forward surge.

Wales were given plenty to think about in the physical exchanges by Georgia, but a five-point maximum and no apparent injuries made it a case of job done.

Match reaction:

Wales lock Cory Hill is facing a major battle to play any part in the Rugby World Cup. Head coach Warren Gatland said that the Dragons lock will be assessed on Tuesday.

A decision then looks likely to be made on Hill, who has been battling to overcome a stress fracture of his leg and has not played since February.

Asked at Wales' post-match press conference following a 43-14 World Cup victory over Georgia if Hill was out of the tournament, Gatland said: "Possibly."

And he added: "If he doesn't return to fitness, he will go back to the UK. We're going to assess him tomorrow and see what sort of progress he has made. If it's not good news, he will go back. If they think he can recover, then he will stay out. We are going to assess that overnight."

Gatland also revealed that centre Hadleigh Parkes suffered "a bit of a bone fracture" in his hand against Georgia, but he is not expected to be a fitness issue for next Sunday's Pool D showdown against Australia.

And fly-half Dan Biggar suffered a cut under his chin during the warm-up, but he went on to deliver a solid display as Wales began their campaign in six-try fashion.

The Six Nations champions delivered a strong statement of intent less than a week before tackling Australia as they put Georgia to the sword during a dominant first-half display.

Wales had a bonus point wrapped up by half-time after tries from centre Jonathan Davies, flanker Justin Tipuric, wing Josh Adams and full-back Liam Williams, with Biggar kicking three conversions and a penalty.

And although the second period proved a much tighter affair - tries by hooker Shalva Mamukashvili and replacement prop Levan Chilachava accurately reflected a stirring Georgia recovery - Wales were never threatened.

Fly-half Tedo Abzhandadze kicked two conversions, while Biggar added the extras to Wales' fifth try from substitute scrum-half Tomos Williams before wing George North claimed a fine solo try that Leigh Halfpenny converted.

Wales went into the game in the wake of assistant coach Rob Howley being sent home from Japan last week for an alleged breach of World Rugby's betting regulations.

But they showed no sign of a hangover from those difficult few days, blasting from their starting blocks and producing some high-tempo rugby.

Gatland said: "We have been watching the games the last few days, and the guys were itching to get on the field. I'm pleased with our first-half performance - we were pretty clinical - but we let things slip in the second half. We lost some continuity by making some changes and keeping players as fresh as we can."

Wales beat Australia on their last meeting 10 months ago, which ended a long run of defeats against the Wallabies, and Gatland added: "I think we can take a lot of confidence from that. They are a tough side. We've had some really tight games with them over the years. We've got to go into that game with a lot of confidence."

And reflecting on the Howley situation, Gatland said: "You just have to draw a line in the sand and move on. You can't change the past and what has happened. You have to look forward.

"I said to the players beforehand, I thought they've been outstanding this week. The way they have prepared for this match, the way they've trained. It was definitely strange (without Howley). You've just got to give Stephen (Howley's replacement Stephen Jones) as much support as you possibly can. He has fitted in seamlessly. He's been doing a good job."

And Wales number eight Josh Navidi said: "It's disappointing whatever came out - thoughts go to Rob and his family.

"It would be nice to have him here, but hopefully he is pleased with the way we played."

Reflecting on the result, Georgia head coach Milton Haig said: "Regardless of the result, if Georgia wants to progress in the quality of how it plays its rugby, a competition like the Six Nations is absolutely vital.

"You can't play a team like Wales in the World Cup and expect us to produce miracles if we are not used to playing at this speed. Twenty nine points (conceded) in the first half show us that if we make a mistake, good teams like this will kill you. Even if we don't get in the Six Nations, Georgia needs to have at least four matches a year to play against these Tier 1 teams. And then we can be competitive. But until that happens, unfortunately for us these types of results will just keep on happening."

Player ratings:

Sam Williams: Scored Wales' bonus-point try and was involved in many of their best attacking moments. 7/10

George North: Scored his 39th try for Wales - a fine solo effort - to leave him one behind Gareth Thomas, who is second on the all-time Wales list. 7

Jonathan Davies: Claimed a try after just three minutes and was a menace to Georgia's defence throughout. 8

Hadleigh Parkes: A solid effort by the Scarlets centre, who worked well in tandem with Davies. 7

Josh Adams: Was hungry for work, especially in the first half, and highlighted his performance with a brilliant try. 7

Dan Biggar: Kicked 11 points, recovering well after missing a conversion from in front of the posts, and was strong tactically. 7

Gareth Davies: A livewire presence who was heavily involved in many of Wales' best moments. 7

Wyn Jones: A solid showing by the Scarlets prop in the face of Georgia's revered scrum. 7

Ken Owens: Battled away in the front-row furnace, and Wales' lineout also operated well. 7

Tomas Francis: Put a hard-working shift as Wales got their World Cup campaign off to a strong start. 7

Jake Ball: One of the unsung members of Wales' pack, who once again put in many hard yards. 7

Alun Wyn Jones: Wales skipper equalled his country's cap record of 129 Tests, and he led from the front. 7

Aaron Wainwright: Another assured display by a player who does not turn 22 until later this week. 7

Justin Tipuric: Wales' best player. Outstanding in the tight and loose exchanges, scored a try and never stopped working. 9

Josh Navidi: Got involved in the close-quarter contest, as required, with Wales off and running at the World Cup. 7

Replacements

Wales head coach Warren Gatland rang the changes in the second half, with prop Nicky Smith arguably the pick of his substitutes. 7


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