The Wallabies have finished the pool stages at the World Cup with a grinding 27-8 win over Georgia in Shizuoka. It finished up four tries to one with the Wallabies finishing off the game with two late tries to blow out the score and not give a true reflection of how close the game was at times.
The game struggled to reach any heights with handling errors and scrums featuring throughout the game and not allow either team to gain any momentum. The Wallabies struggled to get anything going in attack against a physical defensive game from Georgia as they racked up 170 tackles.
There was plenty of feeling in the opening ten minutes with some big tackles from both sides setting the tone. The Georgian defence was proving hard to crack for the Wallabies as they struggled to get over the gain line with their ball runners.
The Wallabies suffered an injury blow as Kurtley Beale was forced to leave the field for a HIA on the 14-minute mark after Georgian outside centre Davit Kachrava slipped on the wet turf and cleaned up Beale on the ground.
After back-to-back penalties Australia looked certain to score after the forwards kept it tight but Isi Naisarani knocked it on with the line in sight.
It eventually took 22 minutes for the Wallabies to open the scoring after a Matt Toomua linebreak got the Wallabies on the front foot. Some patient buildup around the rucks edged them closer and Nic White snuck his way under two Georgian defenders on the line to score as the tackle attempted count from Georgia ticked over to 100.
The restart from the Georgians had the Wallabies under pressure with Naisarani unable to secure the kick and then Tolu Latu was pinged for a knock on and then a high tackle in the same passage. This allowed Georgia to get on the board with a simple penalty goal from Soso Matiashvili to make it 7-3.
The weather conditions were always going to make it tough and the Wallabies tactics were having mixed results with the backs trying to get involved where possible to help out as the forwards seemed to be hitting a brick wall against a determined Georgian defensive unit that made it difficult around the rucks for clean ball for Nic White.
But like in their previous games, the high contact problems reared their ugly head again as Isi Naisarani was the latest to cop a yellow for high contact as he attempted to clear out at on attack but ended up connecting with a Georgian player and received a yellow card for his troubles.
Even though they went down to 14 players, the Wallabies extended the lead to seven points after a penalty goal from Matt Toomua to end a tough and physical half.
The stop/start nature of the game continued early in the second half with a game threatening to break out before handling errors ensured front rowers and scrum experts were the only ones entertained.
The Wallabies were enjoying the share of possession and territory, well in excess of 75% for both but were guilty of trying too much with pushed passes and handling errors stopping them from gaining any momentum.
Just before the 60-minute mark, a piece of individual brilliance from Marika Koroibete down the left wing saw him score to give them some breathing space at 17-3.
But with ten minutes remaining Georgia would have made the Wallabies a bit nervous with a well worked try down the left wing to Alexander Todua to make it 17-8 before late tries from Jack Dempsey from a rolling maul then Will Genia added the icing to the cake with a try right on full time to round the 27-8 win.
The Game Changer
With the game unable to reach any heights of excitement, it was the try from Koroibete around the 60-minute mark that got the Wallabies to a comfortable lead before two late tries sealed the 19 point win.
The G&GR MOTM
In a game where it was tough to stand out, Marika Koroibete gets the nod for his individual try and trying to get involved and help out the pack where he could. Izack Rodda also had a good game with a number of big tackles and some crucial lineout steals.
Score & Scorers
Tries: White, Koroibete, Dempsey, Genia
Conversions: Toomua 2
35 mins – Naisarani (Wallabies) – Yellow