Dan Parks kicked five penalties as Scotland beat Georgia 15-6 in Invercargill.
When the producers of the 2011 World Cup highlights DVD begin their work, they may as well not bother to look at this game, which could go down as the worst of the tournament. It was only the sixth tryless match in World Cup history and neither side looked like getting over the whitewash.
Scotland were like a boxer who despite throwing the vast majority of the punches, could simply not deliver the knockout blow. The Georgians, though, deserve credit for hanging in there until the 70th minute when a fifth Parks penalty put the result beyond doubt.
The game was littered with handling errors – 13 from Scotland and seven from Georgia – which made it a painful, stop-start affair. There was also just one clean linebreak in the 80 minutes, which came from impressive Scotland fullback Rory Lamont.
Scotland led 9-3 at half-time thanks to two penalties and a drop goal from Parks (who also missed two penalties), but that didn’t reflect their dominance.
After a slow start, the Scots began to play with width and ambition, while Georgia were content to keep it tight. The latter also did everything they could to slow down their opponent’s ball at the breakdown and received a warning from the referee late in the half after conceding a string of penalties.
The sellout crowd must have been hoping for a better second half, but it was even worse than the first.
Scotland now look ahead to their big pool matches – against Argentina and England – but on the basis of their first two performances, they will not be progressing to the quarter-finals.
By Simon Borchardt