Sat, Oct 25, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Springboks sink plucky Georgia

SPIRTED The eastern Europeans scored their first-ever World Cup try to make the South Africans look ordinary as the contest heads toward the quarters

REUTERS , SYDNEY

South Africa's Bakkies Botha breaks through the Georgian defense during the Rugby World Cup match between South Africa and Georgia at Aussie Stadium in Sydney yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

South Africa rebounded from last week's loss to England to beat a brave Georgia 46-19 yesterday and edge closer to a place in the World Cup quarterfinals.

The result was never in doubt as the Springboks used their superior size and strength to overwhelm the Georgians, but the eastern Europeans still embarrassed their more fancied opponents with an enthusiastic display.

Despite suffering their third straight defeat to join Canada, Romania, Japan and Tonga as the first teams to be eliminated from the tournament, Georgia not only managed to keep the scoreline respectable but were rewarded with their first World Cup try.

Hooker David Dadunashvili got the five-pointer thirteen minutes into the second half to pull the scoreline back to 29-16 before the Springboks reasserted their control to run away with the match.

South African openside flanker Danie Rossouw capped a strong performance with two of his team's seven tries, while 20-year-old flyhalf Derick Hougaard scored a try and kicked four conversions and a penalty in an impressive performance.

Lock Bakkies Botha, No. 8 Joe van Niekerk, outside center Jaque Fourie and forward Schalk Burger also scored tries while Paliko Jimsheladze booted three penalties and a conversion for Georgia.

Georgia started well enough, trading early penalties to stay level at 3-3 after the first 14 minutes, before they suddenly fell apart, conceding three tries in the next eight minutes.

Rossouw scored the opening try when he busted his way through the defense from close range, then Hougaard strolled through a hole to score and Van Niekerk finished off a sweeping move to dive over in the left corner.

South Africa led 24-6 at halftime then stretched their lead to 29-6 when Rossouw secured a bonus point for his team with a try in the first minute of the second period.

That seemed to be the signal for an avalanche of points, but the South African failed to drive home their advantage as they squandered a string of opportunities with sloppy handling.

They were reduced to 14 men when flanker Henro Scholtz was yellow-carded in the 53rd minute for repeated infringements at the ruck and Georgia immediately made them pay for their indiscretion when Dadunashvili peeled his way off a rolling maul to score.

However, the South Africans replied immediately with a try from Fourie, who grounded a perfectly weight grubber-kick from Hougaard then put the issue beyond doubt with late touchdowns from Botha and Burger.

The Springboks play Samoa in Brisbane next week to decide the likely runner-up in pool C.

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