PALMERSTON NORTH, New Zealand, September 20 – Georgia beat Romania 25-9 in a World Cup Pool B match on Wednesday to triumph in what was the first ever World Cup clash between two teams from eastern Europe.
In a penalty-strewn encounter, fly-half Merab Kvirikashvili grabbed 17 points with the boot as flanker Mamuka Gorgodze scored the only try of the match early in the second half.
It was just the second time that Georgia had won a World Cup match after they defeated Namibia four years ago in France, and it sent Romania home with four straight defeats.
“It was really the game we wanted to win,” said Georgian skipper Irakli Abuseridze.
“It was very hard. I understand that for the Romanians it was really very hard after only three days rest after England and hopefully it will be better for the next time.”
Romanian captain Marius Tincu agreed that his side had been penalised by the quick turnaround from the England game.
“But I congratulate Georgia who played well and were very physical,” he said.
The Romanians made 10 changes to the side that lost heavily to England, sending out 14 of the players who started against Scotland.
And Georgia made three changes to the team which went down 41-10 to England with David Zirakashvili, Giorgi Chkhaidze and Lasha Khmaladze promoted to the starting line
Romania started the stronger, but it was Georgia that opened the scoring when fly-half Kvirikashvili nailed a 48-metre penalty kick.
Three minutes later Marin Dumbrava levelled for the Oaks with his second penalty attempt after a Georgian offside.
With the penalty count spiralling, Kvirikashvili kicked three more and Dumbrava sent over a second as they turned at half-time with Georgia 12-6 ahead.
Georgia took command of the match as the second half got under way and they went 19-6 ahead after 56 minutes when powerhouse flanker Gorgodze bulldozed his way over at the end of a 15-phase drive.
Watched by Prime Minister Nicolaz Gilauri, the Georgians withstood some fierce Romanian pressure after which Kvirikashvili kicked his fifth penalty to seal the victory.
Georgia finish their third World Cup campaign by taking on Argentina in Palmerston North on Sunday, while Romania will head home winless.