Rugby World Cup 2011: England cruise past Georgia
Martin Johnson's men ease past Georgia in their second Rugby World Cup game to move top of Pool B
Chris Ashton scored his first try since the Six Nations as England comfortably beat Georgia in their second match to go top of Pool B.
Coach Martin Johnson, whose side ran six triesÂ in Dunedin, said there is still room for improvement. “We’ve had some guys playing for the first time in a few weeks so, yes, we may have been rusty,” he said.
“It’s a simple game. When we were direct we created chances. We kept a team there for longer than they should have, and that’s no discredit to them.”
Starts for ShontayneÂ Hape, Ben Youngs andÂ Toby Flood gave a much needed change as England showed signs of what they are capable of against a stubborn Georgia side.
No8 Nick Easter was ruled out with a back injury on Saturday, leaving Dan Cole as the only player in the pack to keep his place following theÂ 13-9 winÂ over Argentina last weekend.
New Zealand-born Hape opened the score with a simple breakaway try before both Tuilagi, Armitage scored one apiece and Ashton added a brace.
Georgia, the best team in Europe outside the Six Nations, showed some serious intent in the first half but their determination and solitary try were not enough to keep up with England’s impressive backs.
Irakli Machkhaneli crossed the line in the corner but was rightly called in touch beforeÂ Ashton and Flood linked up to set up Hape, who doubled his tally and secured a bonus-point win.
It was England’s ill-discipline that led to Georgia’s try as Dylan Hartley was penalised for hands in the ruck, giving the referee no choice but to send him to the sin bin.Â
Dimitri Basilaia scored Georgia’s first try of the tournament under the posts to close the gap to 17-10 on the stroke of half time.
Flood produced a faultlessÂ kicking display to notch up four conversions and one penalty as he made a serious case to retain the No10 shirt.
Returning captain Lewis Moody said afterwards: “We wanted to play some rugby today, play at tempo, and we sort of did. Georgia have come a long way since we played them in 2003.
“We’ve got a lot of things to work on. In the first half we gave away a lot of penalties and slowed the ball down. Credit to Georgia, they played a physical game as we knew they would.”
England: Ben Foden, Chris Ashton, Manu Tuilagi, Shontayne Hape, Delon Armitage, Toby Flood, Ben Youngs; Matt Stevens, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Simon Shaw, Tom Palmer, Tom Wood, Lewis Moody (captain), James Haskell. Replacements: Steve Thompson, Alex Corbisiero, Tom Croft, James Haskell, Joe Simpson, Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Banahan.
Georgia: Revaz Gigauri, Irakli Machkhaneli, David Kacharava, Tedo Zibzibadze, Alexander Todua, Merab Kvirikashvili, Irakli Abuseridze (captain); David Khinchagishvili, Jaba Bregvadze, David Kubriashvili, Ilia Zedginidze, Vakhtang Maisuradze, Shalva Sutiashvili, Mamuka Gorgodze, Dimitri Basilaia. Replacements: Akvsenti Giorgadze, David Zirakashvili, Levan Datunashvili, Giorgi Chkhaidze, Bidzina Samkharadze, Givi Berishvili, Lasha Khmaladze.