Argentina 33 Georgia 3: Pumas too strong for valiant Georgians

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The Independent Online

Argentina scored four second-half tries to secure a hard-fought bonus-point victory over determined Georgia and make it two wins out of two in World Cup Pool D here in Lyons last night.

The Pumas were on the front foot throughout but, owing to some tremendous defending by Georgia, were only 6-3 up at half-time courtesy of two Felipe Contepomi penalties. The second half was a different story, and as the Georgians tired, Lucas Borges (two), Patricio Albacete and Federico Martin Aramburu went over for tries.

Contepomi grabbed a 13-point haul with Merab Kvirikashvili scoring Georgia's only points.

A sensational rearguard action had helped Argentina to defeat the hosts France 17-12 in the tournament's opening game on Friday, but the boot was on the other foot last night. The first half was spent almost entirely in the Georgian half, yet the Pumas harvested just two penalties for their efforts.

That was down in part to some sloppy mistakes from Marcelo Loffreda's men, but praise should go to the mighty Georgian defence, who showed an unyielding appetite throughout for head-on confrontation.

It was the eastern Europeans who took the lead, with Kvirikashvili taking advantage of Contepomi's spill from the kick-off, then of Argentinian indiscipline to boot a simple penalty. They then defended for their lives, with some bruising tackling helping them to keep the lead for 10 minutes.

Argentina restored parity with a 12th-minute Contepomi penalty, and Georgia eventually succumbed to indiscipline in the 35th minute, an offside call allowing Contepomi to boot his second penalty.

There were just three points in it at the interval but an 11-minute spell at the start of the second half decided the game.

First Sale's flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe's show-and-go 20 metres out fooled the Georgia outside defence and he was able to set Borges free down the right flank for a score Contepomi converted. The Leinster fly-half kicked his third penalty to stretch the lead to 16-3 before Borges notched his second try.

Albacete handed off Avtandil Kopaliani to barge over for the third try and Aramburu grabbed the bonus point by scorching over for the fourth with only a few seconds remaining.

Argentina: Tries Borges (2), Albacete, Aramburu; Conversions Contepomi, Hernandez; Penalties Contepomi (3). Georgia: Penalty Kvirikashvili.

Argentina: Corleto; Borges, Pedro Tiesi (Senillosa, 45), Contepomi ( Todeschini, 74), Aramburu; Hernandez, Miranda; Ayerza, Ledesma ( Basualdo, 68), Bonorino ( Hasan, 45), Kairelis ( Lozada, 44), Albacete, Durand, Fernandez Lobbe, Leguizamon ( Schusterman, 61). Replacement not used: Miras.

Georgia: Jimsheladze (Shkinin, 59); Machkhaneli, Urjukashvili ( Gigauri, 74), I Guiorgadze, Khamashuridze; Kvirikashvili, Abusseridze ( Samkharadze, 64); Khinchagishvili (Shvelidze, 63), A Guiorgadze, Zirakashvili ( Kopaliana, 40), Zedquinidze, Gorgodze, Chkhaidze ( Maisuradze, 50), Labadze, Udesiani ( Didebulidze, 65).

Referee: N Owens (Wales).