Georgia pick up historic victory over unconvincing Wales in Cardiff


Wales suffer an embarrassing defeat as unfancied Georgia claimed a famous 13-12 Autumn Nations Series victory at the Principality Stadium; The countries clash again at next year’s World Cup in France, which is an encounter Georgia will now not fear in any shape or form

Last Updated: 19/11/22 4:09pm

A fantastic display by Georgia saw Les Lelos pick up a historic Test win over Wales in Cardiff A fantastic display by Georgia saw Les Lelos pick up a historic Test win over Wales in Cardiff

A fantastic display by Georgia saw Les Lelos pick up a historic Test win over Wales in Cardiff

Georgia picked up a historic Test victory over Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, as 21-year-old Luka Matkava kicked the winning penalty with two minutes to go.

A pair of tries from flanker Jac Morgan, only one of which was converted by Rhys Priestland, was all Wales could muster, as the hosts also lost wing Alex Cuthbert to a sin-binning and failed to score a point in the second half.

Wales 12-13 Georgia – Score summary

Wales – Tries: Morgan (20, 24). Cons: Priestland (21). Yellow card: Cuthbert (51)

Georgia – Tries: Todua (59). Cons: Abzhandadze (60). Pens: Abzhandadze (3), Matkava (78).

Indeed, Georgia fly-half Tedo Abzhandadze missed a penalty chance for the lead with 15 minutes to go, after wing Alexander Todua – on the occasion of his 100th cap, scored to reduce the Wales lead to just two points.

The Georgian scrum overtook the remainder of the contest, though, producing one final penalty chance to claim a dramatic, historic and thoroughly deserved victory.

Josh Macleod (No 8), Josh Adams (wing), Owen Watkin (centre), Rhys Priestland (out-half), Ben Carter (second row), Jac Morgan (flanker) all came in to start vs Georgia as Wales head coach Wayne Pivac made six changes to the side which beat Argentina. Scarlets back-row Macleod made his Test debut. Leigh Halfpenny returned from injury to start among replacements

For Georgia, wing Alexander Todua started for his 100th cap, while Nodar Cheishvili and Konstantin Mikautadze comprised an experienced second row. Inside-centre Merab Sharikadze captained the side. Lyon back Davit Niniashvili started at full-back, while Pau back-row Beka Gorgadze was at openside flanker.

It was one of the greatest upsets in international rugby union history, and will inevitably pile pressure on Wales boss Wayne Pivac building towards next weekend’s autumn finale against Australia.

Scarlets back-row forward Josh Macleod made his Wales debut, packing down at number eight, while other changes from the team that beat Argentina last weekend included starts for Rhys Priestland, wing Josh Adams and lock Ben Carter.

Abzhandadze kicked Georgia into a second-minute lead, before full-back Davit Niniashvili sparked a thrilling counter-attack as the visitors settled impressively.

Wales were slow out of the blocks in comparison, but they began to exert pressure inside Georgia’s 22, with wing Alex Cuthbert going close following two lineout drives that were defended well by the visitors.

But Wales pounced in the 20th minute after lock Adam Beard won line-out ball and flanker Morgan surged over for a try that Priestland converted, making it 7-3.

Wales back-row Jac Morgan got over for the opening try of the Test on 20 minutes Wales back-row Jac Morgan got over for the opening try of the Test on 20 minutes

Wales back-row Jac Morgan got over for the opening try of the Test on 20 minutes

Morgan struck again just three minutes later when he collected scrum-half Tomos Williams’ pass, building impressively on his outstanding display against Argentina after going on as a first-half replacement.

Wales thought they had scored again eight minutes before the break when Adams finished impressively after a kick and chase, but Williams’ pass to him was ruled forward.

It was a let-off for Georgia, and they accrued no further damage on the scoreboard as Wales led 12-3 at half-time.

Morgan scored again four minutes later, but Wales would not score another point in the contest Morgan scored again four minutes later, but Wales would not score another point in the contest

Morgan scored again four minutes later, but Wales would not score another point in the contest

Wales were temporarily reduced to 14 men when Cuthbert received a yellow card from referee Andrea Piardi following an aerial collision that saw Todua fall awkwardly.

Macleod then made way, with Taulupe Faletau taking over from him and making his 99th Test-match appearance for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

Georgia dominated the third quarter, capitalising on aimless kicking from Wales, and scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze went close to a try that was thwarted by strong defensive work from Adams.

Wales were predictable, lacking creativity, and Georgia seemed to thrive on that.

And they cut the deficit to just two points midway through the half when Todua collected a well-placed kick and crossed unopposed, with Abzhandadze’s conversion making it 12-10.

Alexander Todua celebrates his crucial try, on his 100th cap for Georgia Alexander Todua celebrates his crucial try, on his 100th cap for Georgia

Alexander Todua celebrates his crucial try, on his 100th cap for Georgia

Abzhandadze had a chance to put Georgia ahead, but he drifted an angled penalty attempt wide and Wales escaped.

Faletau made a considerable impact, and he looked to have created a hat-trick try for Morgan, only for the Cardiff No 8 to knock on during approach play.

Morgan had a late try disallowed before Georgia struck for victory Morgan had a late try disallowed before Georgia struck for victory

Morgan had a late try disallowed before Georgia struck for victory

The final few minutes were inevitably tense, especially from a Welsh perspective, and Matkava put Georgia in dreamland with his long-range penalty.

Georgia’s players celebrated wildly, and they held on to win, claiming the greatest victory in their rugby history, beating Wales for the first time and leaving their hosts crestfallen.

Georgia celebrate the biggest victory in their history at full-time Georgia celebrate the biggest victory in their history at full-time

Georgia celebrate the biggest victory in their history at full-time
Georgia scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze was named player of the match Georgia scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze was named player of the match

Georgia scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze was named player of the match

What’s next?

Wayne Pivac’s Wales next host Australia at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, November 26, in a 3.15pm (GMT) kick-off for the last of their four autumn internationals this Test window.

Wales’ Autumn Internationals

Saturday, November 5 Wales 23-55 New Zealand 3.15pm
Saturday, November 12 Wales 20-13 Argentina 5.30pm
Saturday, November 19 Wales 12-13 Georgia 1pm
Saturday, November 26 Wales vs Australia 3.15pm

Levan Maisashvili’s Georgia had only one Test arranged in the northern hemisphere this autumn, and so victory over Wales rounds off their schedule.

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