November Internationals wrap: Georgia claim shock win over Wales

South Africa return to winning ways with thumping victory over Italy

Wales 12 Georgia 13

Wales suffered an embarrassing defeat as unfancied Georgia claimed a famous 13-12 Autumn Nations Series victory at the Principality Stadium.

Substitute Luka Matkava’s penalty two minutes from time inflicted immeasurable pain on Wales.

Flanker Jac Morgan scored two first-half tries, but Wales huffed and puffed during a miserable second 40 minutes that Georgia dominated.


The countries clash again at next year’s World Cup in France, which is an encounter that Georgia will not fear in any shape or form.

Wing Sandro Todua scored a 59th-minute try, while outhalf Tedo Abzhandadze converted and kicked a penalty as the visitors repeatedly shunted Wales into reverse gear.

He then missed a penalty, but Matkava came up trumps and Wales could have absolutely no complaints.

It was one of the greatest upsets in international rugby union history, and will inevitably pile pressure on Wales boss Wayne Pivac building towards next weekend’s autumn finale against Australia.

Scarlets backrow forward Josh Macleod made his Wales debut, packing down at number eight, while other changes from the team that beat Argentina last weekend included starts for Rhys Priestland, wing Josh Adams and lock Ben Carter.

Abzhandadze kicked Georgia into a second-minute lead, before fullback Davit Niniashvili sparked a thrilling counter-attack as the visitors settled impressively.

Wales were slow out of the blocks in comparison, but they began to exert pressure inside Georgia’s 22, with wing Alex Cuthbert going close following two lineout drives that were defended well by the visitors.But Wales pounced in the 20th minute after lock Adam Beard won lineout ball and flanker Morgan surged over for a try that Priestland converted, making it 7-3.

Morgan struck again just three minutes later when he collected scrumhalf Tomos Williams’ pass, building impressively on his outstanding display against Argentina after going on as a first-half replacement.

Wales thought they had scored again eight minutes before the break when Adams finished impressively after a kick and chase, but Williams’ pass to him was ruled forward. It was a let-off for Georgia, and they accrued no further damage on the scoreboard as Wales led 12-3 at half-time.

Pivac made a first change just five minutes into the second period, sending on prop Sam Wainwright for Dillon Lewis.

But Wales were temporarily reduced to 14 men when Cuthbert received a yellow card from referee Andrea Piardi following an aerial collision that saw Todua fall awkwardly. Macleod then made way, with Taulupe Faletau taking over from him and making his 99th Test-match appearance for Wales and the British and Irish Lions.

Georgia dominated the third quarter, capitalising on aimless kicking from Wales, and scrumhalf Vasil Lobzhanidze went close to a try that was thwarted by strong defensive work from Adams.

Wales were predictable, lacking creativity, and Georgia seemed to thrive on that. They cut the deficit to just two points midway through the half when Todua collected a well-placed kick and crossed unopposed, with Abzhandadze’s conversion making it 12-10.

Abzhandadze had a chance to put Georgia ahead, but he drifted an angled penalty attempt wide and Wales escaped.

Faletau made a considerable impact, and he looked to have created a hat-trick try for Morgan, only for the Cardiff number eight to knock on during approach play.

The final few minutes were inevitably tense, especially from a Welsh perspective, and Matkava put Georgia in dreamland with his long-range penalty. Georgia’s players celebrated wildly, and they held on to win, claiming the greatest victory in their rugby history, beating Wales for the first time and leaving their hosts crestfallen.

Italy 21 South Africa 63

In Saturday’s other action, South Africa turned on the second-half heat as they ran in a total of nine tries in a dominant 63-21 win over Italy in their test at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

The Springboks scored seven tries after the break as they wore down their hosts with relentless forward play to post their first win on their autumn tour, after losing narrowly in Ireland and France over the last weeks

Kurt Lee Arendse scored two tries and there was one each for Bongi Mbonambi, Cheslin Kolbe, Kwagga Smith, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Damian Willemse and Cobus Reinach with Kolbe adding two penalties and a conversion and his replacement Manie Libbok kicking over five conversions.

Italy’s two tries were scored by Ange Capuozzo and Lorenzo Cannone, with Tomasso Allan putting over three penalties and a conversion.

Scotland 52 Argentina 29

Darcy Graham scored a hat-trick of tries as Scotland capitalised on Argentina’s indiscipline to round off their autumn series with a 52-29 victory at BT Murrayfield.

The Pumas had Marcos Kremer red-carded in the first half and then received three yellow cards after the break, leaving them with 12 men at one point, while Scotland also had two players sin-binned in the closing quarter. Despite having at least a one-man advantage for almost three-quarters of the match, it was only in the closing stages that Scotland – inspired by the outstanding Finn Russell – were able to pull away and put the outcome beyond doubt.

The hosts got off to a bad start when they conceded a penalty within 20 seconds, after Jonny Gray entered the first ruck of the match illegally. Edinburgh wing Emiliano Boffelli duly put the first points on the board for Argentina when he sent his kick between the posts.

Scotland responded with a brilliant try in the 11th minute, when Sione Tuipulotu received a perfectly-timed offload from Russell and darted his way beyond a cluster of Pumas to score. Russell converted. The home support were silenced five minutes later, however, when Jeronimo De La Fuente bounded over on the left despite the close attentions of Ali Price. Boffelli was wide with his conversion attempt.

Argentina’s hopes of a result were dealt a major blow in the 23rd minute when they were reduced to 14 men after backrow Kremer was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Jamie Ritchie following a TMO review.

Scotland made the extra man count almost immediately as Russell offloaded to Duhan Van Der Merwe just in front of the line and the wing juggled the ball between his hands before forcing it down in the 25th minute. Russell was successful with the conversion.

Just three minutes later, the Scots scored again when Graham bolted his way over on the right after an excellent flowing move, with Russell the architect in chief – but this time Russell’s kick was inaccurate.

Argentina refused to capitulate and in the last action of the half, Matias Alemanno barged his way over to score following a sustained period of pressure in front of the Scottish line. Boffelli converted to ensure the Scots went in only 19-15 ahead at the interval.

Scotland reasserted their authority just a minute into the second half, however, when Graham was released on the right following good play by Russell and Stuart Hogg. Russell hooked his kick wide of the posts.

Gregor Townsend’s side – at this point leading 24-15 – were presented with a great opportunity to turn the screw on their opponents going into the closing half-hour when the Pumas were temporarily reduced to 12 men after Alemanno and Tomas Lavanini were both sent to the sin-bin within a minute of each other.

Incredibly, despite having three men less than their hosts, Argentina scored a breakaway try when Boffelli raced beneath the posts in the 52nd minute and added the extras himself.

Three minutes later, Tuipulotu went over on the right for his second try of the afternoon, with Russell kicking the conversion.

Almost as soon as Argentina had welcomed their two players back from the sin-bin, a mass brawl erupted just after the hour mark which resulted in Scotland captain Ritchie and Pumas prop Thomas Gallo being yellow-carded.

The Scots eventually started to pull away from their bedraggled visitors in the closing 11 minutes when Cam Redpath, Hogg and Graham all helped themselves to tries, with Russell converting all three.

Tuipulotu was sin-binned right at the death, before Argentina replacement Ignacio Ruiz scored a try – converted by Nicolas Sanchez – in the last action of an eventful match featuring 12 tries and six cards.