Unsuccessful Against Japan

27-Jun-2012


Georgian Under 20 team failed to beat Japan in its last JWRT pool match and lost the opportunity to reach the final.

Judging by our team’s previous performance, this was very unlikely, because the Georgian youngsters won their two other pool games with a considerable score margin – 31:17 against Canada and 43:7 against Zimbabwe.

Our yesterday’s opponent struggled to win against both these teams. Japan Under 20 head coach commented on his squad’s weak defense and the necessity to set this right before the match with young Lelos.

Japan is an organized and well-coached team – we learned this from our own experience last year, at Junior World Rugby Trophy 2011. Back then, Sakura Blossoms lost the tournament final to the very strong team from Samoa.

Exactly like this year, in 2011 Georgia was defeated by Japan during the last JWRT pool match. Unfortunately, we lost the opportunity to revenge in Salt Lake City. Japan made it to the final and is now getting ready to play against the host nation – USA.

The yesterday’s match started well for Georgia. Young Lelos finished their first attack with an unconverted try, scored by centre Zurab Dzneladze at the edge of the pitch. Following this, the Lelos slowed down and received four consecutive tries. Judging by the score – 29:5 first half of the game was fully dominated by Japan. Reducing this huge score margin was a complex task.

The Georgians played much better in the second half. At the 42nd minute Zurab Dzneladze scored another try between the goal posts, and this time fullback Saba Nikolava converted it to raise the score to 29:12.

This quick try evoked an elusive hope of reversing the score. At the 65th minute the Georgians formed a maul after the lineout and went forward until the Japanese stopped their attack in just several meters from their goal line. Scrum-half Vaja Khutsishvili cleaned the ball from the ruck and quickly passed it to flanker Elguja Surguladze, who scored a try, followed by centre Tamaz Mchedlidze’s unsuccessful conversion. The score increased to 29:17.

End of the match would be very different, if our team had not made an unforgivable mistake in defense: they dropped the ball, turned over from Japan in the central area of the pitch and Japan used this opportunity to break through our defense and score a converted try.

Very shortly before the final whistle, substitute hooker David Khidesheli grounded the ball in the opponent’s in-goal area twice, but this was not enough for winning. The referee disregarded the first of these tries; as soon as David Khidesheli scored the second one, the final blow whistled. Japan earned a well-deserved 36:29 win over Georgia and secured a place in final. Georgia will compete for the third place on June 30 (02:00 a.m. on July 1 Tbilisi time) against Tonga.
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