The top European qualifier for New Zealand 2011, Georgia defeated Canada 22-15 today in Tblissi. It was Canada´s third international match in as many weeks and their first loss. The defeat ends Canada´s chances of a European Grand Slam tour but underlines the growth of Georgian rugby as a team for the future. The locals showed up in support of their team at the Boris Paichadze National Stadium. They would not be disappointed as the they hosted their highest profile match of all time as a former Rugby World Cup Quarter Finalist - Canada. Both teams are in tough groups in next years Rugby World Cup but both have opponents that they should defeat.
Canada were behind from the start of the match as they conceeded a penalty and then a penalty try to the Lelos who took a 10-0 lead. The North Americans responded, however, with Glasgow Warriors DTH van der Merwe recovering a kick and running to within 15 metres of the Georgian line before being tackled and offloading to tighthead prop Jason Marshall who scored Canada´s first try but James Pritchard´s conversion missed the mark. The tension of this match was clear and Georgia soon hit back with their second try following a well worked maul which gave the Lelos a 15-8 lead. Pritchard closed the scores at 15-8 at half time following a penalty.
The second half was a similar with the Lelos continuing to pile the presure on the Canadians. The pressure worked to their advantage as Georgia took a 22-8 lead in the final 20 minutes following a kick. Canada were the better side in the final quarter but it came too late as the home side secured an historical victory - surely the first of many international matches between the sides in Tblissi. Backrower, Aaron Carpender did manage to close the gap with a try late in the match which meant Canada would lose by seven points to the tem ranked three places below them in the IRB World Rankings.
Canada now travel to Lisbon to face Portugal next weekend while Georgia host the USA Eagles.
1. David Kinchagishvili, 2. Akvsenti Giorgadze, 3. David Zirakishvili, 4. Shalva Sutiashvili, 5. Levan Datunashvili, 6. Grigol Labadze, 7. Giorgi Chkhaidze, 8. Besarion Udesiani, 9. Irakli Abuseridze, 10. Lasha Malaguradze, 11. Lekso Gugava, 12. Teodore Zibzibadze, 13. Irakli Chkhikvadze, 14. Irakli Machkhaneli, 15. Malkhaz Urjukashvili.
Replacements: 16. Iuri Natriashvili, 17. Goderdzi Shvelidze, 18. Giorgi Nemsadze, 19. Simon Maisuradze, 20. Bidzina Samkharadze, 21. David Kacharava, 22. Merab Kvirikashvili.
1. Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors) 2. Pat Riordan (BC Bears) 3. Jason Marshall (BC Bears) 4. Josh Jackson (Stade Montois) 5. Jebb Sinclair (The Rock) 6. Chauncey O'Toole (The Rock) 7. Adam Kleeberger (Unattached) 8. Aaron Carpenter (Plymouth Albion) 9. Sean White (BC Bears) 10. Connor Braid (BC Bears) 11. James Pritchard (Bedford Blues) 12. Phillip Mackenzie (Esher RFC) 13. DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors) 14. Justin Mensah-Coker (Unattached) 15. Ciaran Hearn(The Rock)
Replacements: 16. Tom Dolezel (Prairie Wolf Pack) 17. Andrew Tiedemann (Prairie Wolf Pack) 18. Jon Phelan (The Rock) 19. Tyler Hotson (Plymouth Albion) 20. Sean Michael Stephen (Plymouth Albion) 21. Jamie Mackenzie (Ontario Blues) 22. Nick Blevins (Prairie Wolf Pack)