Georgia Save Best Till Last As Navy Work For Victory
RN Senior XV v Georgia - Plate Final
In the end a comfortable victory but after a quick fire opening five minutes which saw the Royal Navy score two tries, the Georgia team raised their game to levels not seen earlier in the tournament and went toe to toe with the Royal Navy for the next fifty five minutes. It was only in the final quarter that the Royal Navy were able to pull away to secure the victory by 32 points to 7.
From the first scrum the Georgia forwards laid down the marker as they shunted the Navy pack backwards. However though not on the front foot a searing break from Sam Davies quickly revealed the Royal Navy’s intentions. Though Georgia were able to clear their lines it was Navy fullback, Jon Humphrey, who again ran the ball back hard and split the Georgian defence. Dave Fairbrother kept the move alive before Greg Welling took the ball towards the goal line and with a deft inside pass found Richard Cadywould who was around under the posts. He left himself an easy conversion and within a minute was attempting his second. From the restart the Royal Navy had swept down field and with the ball being moved before contact the Georgia defence was once more breached and lock forward, John Lamsin, was able to crash over from short range. 12-0 with just over five minutes gone and the Royal Navy’s high tempo game looked to be too much for Georgia.
Whether the start was too good and the Royal Navy relaxed or Georgia simply raised their game is unknown but the rest of the half did not go as planned. For the next twenty five minutes it was Georgia who enjoyed the greater share of possession and much of the territory as the Royal Navy’s unforced errors prevented them from getting any continuity. With their strong scrum and effective pick and drive game, Georgia were able to keep possession for long periods whilst in their half backs, Chendle and Dogonadze, they had two inventive players with an eye for the break. As the half wore on the Georgians grew in confidence and thoroughly deserved their score on 32 minutes when they were able to drive over hooker Sutizde from short range. Centre Giorgashvilli add the conversion and Georgia were within a score. They clearly had the Royal Navy rattled but home nerves were calmed a little when Cadywould was able to extend the lead just before half time with a well struck penalty. 15 – 7 at half time.
The start of the second half once more saw Georgia taking the game to the Royal Navy. They were very unlucky not to be awarded a try when the referee ruled the ball held up but showed a little inexperience from the resulting 5m scrum where over eagerness caused them to concede a penalty for double movement.
The Royal Navy’s close in defence finally weathered the Georgia storm and eventually the siege was lifted. From their first meaningful foray in to the Georgia half the Royal Navy forced a penalty and the lead was extended to 18-7. Within seconds of the restart the Royal Navy were back up field with Jarrad Hayler crossing for what he thought was the third try, only for the referee to rule obstruction. It did not prove to be a setback because it had reignited the Royal Navy’s play and they regained the directness that they had so briefly shown in the opening few minutes.
This time it was Darren Bamford who provided the impetus. Dave Fairbrother again contributed some good link work and Sam Davies was set free for what looked a certain try. He was denied by an illegal tackle but after consultation with his assistant, the referee went under the posts to award the penalty try.
Form the restart the Royal Navy were in full flow and could have scored a couple more if the final pass had not gone to ground. When the fourth try did come, it came from an unlikely source. Georgia had looked secure in the scrum for much of the game but replacement scrum half, Cory Moore, managed to pressurise Chendle into the error and with Georgia unable to regain the ball it ricocheted around until Joe Burton tidied things up and crossed for a popular try as the match entered stoppage time.
The Navy were unable to add to their score but the 32-7 victory did reflect their overall dominance particularly in the opening and closing stages of the match. However Georgia can be immensely proud of their performance, easily their best of IDRC2015. They made the Royal Navy work for their win and probably deserved a second try. For the Royal Navy the Plate Trophy secured at the end of a tournament where a number of younger players have shown some good development and time to reflect before meeting again at the end of January for the 2016 Inter Services campaign.
Royal Navy Starting XV: Kyle Mason, Ben Priddey (C), John Court, John Lamsin, Edd Pascoe, Ben Fox, Jarrad Hayler, Dave Fairbrother, Johnny Stephen, Richard Cadywould, Matt Bowden, Matt Tichias, Sam Davies, Greg Welling, Jon Humphrey
Replacements: Ian Cooper, Joe Burton, Josh Terry, Seta Raumakita, Cory Moore, Darren Bamford, Silvenuis Buinimasi, Tom Davies
Georgia: Estatia, Sutizde, Bursaliani, Katsitadze, Tatulashvilli, Gnentsadze, Malsagishvilli, Mevikidze, Chendle, Dogonadze, Gulua, Gurabanidze, Giorgashvilli, Margiam, Kenia
Replacements: Kipshidze, Kharshiladze, Geradze, Zibzibadze, Batiatvi, Kacashvilli, Jafaridze, Chikoradze
Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones and © Lee Crabb