Wales made a flying start to their Rugby World Cup campaign as Gareth Davies starred in a dominant 43-14 win over Georgia in Pool D.
The Six Nations winners made a statement of intent in the first half at the City of Toyota Stadium – Gareth Davies pulling the strings as a bonus point was secured with a 29-0 lead heading into the interval.
Jonathan Davies got things started early on, with Justin Tipuric, Josh Adams and Liam Williams getting in on the act as four of Wales’ six tries came before the break, while Dan Biggar kept things ticking over with the boot.
With Georgia pulling one back, Wales failed to recapture their first-half form after the restart, though George North teed up one try and scored another to add further gloss to a fine win which sends Warren Gatland’s side top of Pool D.
Gareth Davies’ pinpoint pass split Georgia’s defence open inside three minutes, with Jonathan Davies racing through under the sticks, though Biggar slammed what should have been a simple conversion against the post.
— Geraint Thomas (@GeraintThomas86) September 23, 2019
Biggar made no such mistake with a penalty four minutes later and Wales soon doubled their tally of tries – Tipuric’s quick feet doing for Georgia this time.
Gareth Davies continued to toy with Georgia, and his wonderful quick take-and-pass set Adams free in the 19th minute, with Liam Williams then wrapping up the bonus point on the stroke of half-time.
Wales’ fourth try had come slightly against the run of play, and Georgia had their reward for a strong start to the second half when Shalva Mamukashvili bundled over.
Jaba Bregvadze came on as a substitute shortly after, only to be sent straight back to the sideline after he was penalised for collapsing a maul.
Georgia survived their numerical disadvantage without conceding, but they were undone once more as substitute Tomos Williams latched onto North’s excellent grubber.
Levan Chilachava – on his 50th cap – grabbed another Georgia try, but North had the final say when he drove over after Tomos Williams returned the favour with a fantastic offload.
Gareth Davies runs the show
The scrum-half featured in all five of Wales’ Six Nations fixtures and also scored in three of the pool fixtures at the 2015 World Cup.
He proved too much for Georgia to handle on Monday, creating two of Wales’ first three tries either side of playing a crucial role in the second.
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) September 23, 2019
Georgia no test for Gatland’s men
Wales were sensational in the Six Nations, storming to victory in all five fixtures, yet they won only one of their four warm-up matches.
While they swiftly clicked into gear in this win, Gatland will be well aware there are much sterner challenges to come for his side, with the upcoming clash with Australia crucial in determining who will finish first in the pool.
Key Opta Stats
– Wales scored 30+ points in a match for the first time since beating Tonga 74-24 back in November 2018.
– Only twice before have Wales held a bigger half-time lead (29 points) in a RWC match (36 pts v Japan in 1995, 31 pts v Fiji in 2011).
– This was Georgia’s 11th RWC fixture against a Tier 1 opponent (L11) and the first time they have scored more than one try in such a game.
– North (39) is now just one try away from equalling Gareth Thomas (40) as Wales’ second top try scorer in Test Rugby, behind Shane Williams (58).
– Alun Wyn Jones won his 129th cap for Wales in this game, joining Gethin Jenkins as the joint most capped player for the country.
Wales’ second Pool D encounter sees them go head-to-head with fellow heavyweights Australia on Sunday, which is also when Georgia face Uruguay.
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