Georgia back on track with win; Uruguay back to earth

KUMAGAYA, Japan (AP) — Jaba Bregvadze gave Georgian and Japanese fans a bonus cheer when he scored a try and set up another with a chip kick to lead his lineup to a 33-7 victory over Uruguay in a Rugby World Cup Pool D game yesterday.

Uruguay were coming off an upset win over Fiji last Wednesday and didn’t have the energy to match the physical Georgian lineup, which was overhauled after an opening loss to Wales.

The 32-year-old Bregvadze, who plays for the Japan-based Sunwolves in Super Rugby and was leading his national team for the first time, secured a bonus point with Georgia’s fourth try when he dived across from a rolling maul in the 52nd minute.

Georgia had nothing going on in attack six minutes later when the veteran hooker, standing out from a ruck, decided to chip ahead and then pinned Uruguayan Rodrigo Silva on the tryline, allowing centre Giorgi Kveseladze the easiest of tries.

From 12-7 up at halftime, Georgia added three further tries before the hour mark for a team record five tries in a World Cup game. The Georgians will have to regroup quickly for a crucial game against Fiji on Thursday, while Uruguay get an extra two days off before taking on two-time champion Australia.

Bregvadze said the aim for his team yesterday was “not to make ourselves proud, but more to make all Georgians proud and all Georgians back at home more interested.”

Now for the next challenge: a Fiji team desperate to rebound from its shocking 30-27 loss to Uruguay.

“We’ll forget this win and prepare for the next game,” Bregvadze said. “The job is not done.”

Uruguay finished a man down after replacement prop Facundo Gattas was red-carded for a high tackle with two minutes to go.

Skipper Juan Manuel Gaminara said the short turnaround after the Fiji win wasn’t to blame for the comedown.

“We knew it was going to be like that since we qualified,” he said. “I congratulate Georgia. They played a really intelligent game.”

Georgia scored tries through left winger Alexander Todua and No. 8 Otari Giorgadze in the first half hour and appeared to be on the verge of taking control of the game before Uruguay rallied with a try against the run of play in the 33rd.