Scotland 36-9 Georgia: Gregor Townsend’s side win final World Cup warm-up
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From Andy Burke
BBC Scotland at Murrayfield
Scotland pulled Murrayfield away from a Georgia in the second half to earn their third win in four World Cup warm-up matches.
It was a game in the rest, with Blair Kinghorn and attempts by Ali Price.
However, Sam Johnston darted around to border the Scots obvious, and attempts by Darcy Graham, and the Horne brothers — Pete and George — sealed success in Scotland’s final game before their opener at Japan against Ireland on 22.
It was a performance in part from the side of Gregor Townsend, together with the Georgians proving more belligerent than in the reverse osmosis in Tbilisi of past weekend.
The story of Scotland’s summer series had been one of improvement. A disheartening hammering at Nice at the hands of France followed over Les Bleus at Murrayfield, and then a detailed dismantling of Georgia.
Having called his final 31-man squad for the World Cup on Tuesday, Townsend chose to take lots of his big guns — the likes of Stuart Hogg, Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw, Hamish Watson, John Barclay and Stuart McInally — outside of the lineup of fire.
With all these modifications, the Scots took some time but following a frustrating opening 15 seconds they began to cut loose. Kinghorn established the counter-attack and, following incursions from Graham and Johnson, Price dived over for a try.
Seconds later, Adam Hastings’ nail crossfield-kick found Graham, who did to offload.
Three penalties against Abzhandadze meant, despite those two Scotland tries, we had a sport and the buoyancy turned into stress from the audience as the visitors ended the half stronger. Fly-half Abzhandadze was growing in his eye for a gap was providing Scotland issues.
The hosts needed a try to shoot some wind in the Georgia sails, plus they got it 10 minutes after the break. Ryan Wilson and Blade Thomson punctured the defence and Scotland showed amazing patience to continue prodding and probing until Hastings managed to ship Johnson untouched beneath 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 sew five stages of play together.
This wasn’t exactly the try-laden show the supporters came to watch to Japan for the huge send-off, also in the first priority was simply securing the win.
The match was secure once Duncan Taylor staged a lengthy pass to Chris Harris, who brought two defenders and slipped from Graham up the touchline.
The people’ resistance was disintegrating and substitute George Horne darted through a ropey fringe defence to touch down to test number five, prior to brother Peter came off the bench to get in on the action, capitalising on some mad Georgian play deep in their own land.
Ultimately a thorough victory for the Scots before the serious stuff begins in Japan. They will be better when their men return, and if they choose on the primary up they will need 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 V Karkadze G Melkidze, L Lomidze.
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