Georgia surprise Wales with triumph in Cardiff

It was only Lelos’ second win against a top-tier nation, the first coming at home against Italy in July.

Georgia clinched victory in dramatic fashion with substitute Luka Matkava, 21, making his debut two weeks ago last month when he converted a long-range shot three minutes from time.

Wales have won just three of their 11 games this year and Wayne Pivac – who succeeded fellow New Zealander Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup – is under pressure.

“This is the worst performance I’ve seen from a Welsh team,” said Jamie Roberts, former center for the Welsh and British Lions.

“If you lose a game like that, you have to seriously ask about the coach.”

Pivac himself said: “You’ve seen a lot of results going against the form book at the moment and our result is one of them.

“Seven days is a long time in rugby and we need to make sure we take this game apart, learn very, very quickly and make sure we get the result against Australia that we need now.

“We put ourselves in that position and now we have to fight to get out of it. We have to use those seven days and do a much better performance next week.”

With both sides represented in the Australian pool at next year’s World Cup, the Wallabies’ management will be watching the game closely.

Trailing 3-12 at halftime, Georgia was faltering and fortunate to concede just two tries, both scored by Jac Morgan.

But they were converted after the break, especially the scrum.

The turning point was a yellow card for Wales’ Alex Cuthbert for knocking out opponent Sandro Todua. Cuthbert’s absence was expertly capitalized on as Georgia five-eighth Tedo Abzhandadze nailed a perfect crosskick to Todua to catch him and saunter down the tryline.

Abzhandadze came on to win Georgia within two minutes from Wales with 20 minutes to go.

Five minutes later, Abzhandadze missed a penalty to give them the lead, a miss that appeared to have cost Georgia as Morgan scored their hat-trick.

However, the video showed that Taulupe Faletau, who appeared to have set up the chance brilliantly, had knocked on the build-up.

Wales then conceded a penalty in the scrum, which Matkava missed from the Wales 10-metre line.

As Wales sank into somber mood, Georgia celebrated wildly.

“We’re so proud. I’m proud of the team and of all Georgians in rugby,” said Vasil Lobzhanidze, man-of-the-match man of the game

“We made history. We are so proud of ourselves.”

– with AP

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