|World Cup warm-up|
|Georgia: (3) 10|
|Tries: Asieshvili Pens: Matiashvili Cons: Abzhandadze|
|Scotland: (23) 44|
|Tries: Toolis, Hutchinson (2), Graham, Cummings Pens: Laidlaw 3 Cons: Laidlaw 3, Russell, Hastings|
Centre Rory Hutchinson crossed twice on his first Test start as Scotland marked their final outing before the Rugby World Cup squad is named with a comfortable victory over Georgia.
Ben Toolis, Darcy Graham and Scott Cummings also scored as Gregor Townsend’s side triumphed in the first visit of a Tier One nation to Tbilisi.
Greig Laidlaw added 15 points with the boot as Scotland recorded their first win on the road in 14 months – just three days before the 31-man squad is confirmed for the tournament in Japan.
The Tbilisi triumph followed a revenge victory over the French at Murrayfield last week after Scotland were humbled in Nice, and is followed by a rematch with Georgia in Edinburgh on Friday.
Townsend’s 31-man squad then head to Japan before their World Cup opener against Ireland on 22 September.
This was a big day for Georgian Rugby. Their head coach Milton Haig spoke before the game about making a good impression on and off the field in the hope that if – and it’s a big if – the Six Nations Championship is ever looking for a new member, Georgia will be the next cab off the rank.
It was slightly disappointing, then, to see the Dinamo Arena only around two thirds full, but those Georgians who did turn out brought more than enough colour and noise.
The Scots, having fallen into a damaging habit of going behind early, took control immediately. Laidlaw kicked two penalties before a superb team try strengthened their grip.
Graham almost broke through, Finn Russell sliced past the scrambling defence, and then some good hands from Matt Fagerson and Laidlaw put Toolis in for his first international try.
Hutchinson seems to be a man timing his run to perfection when it comes to World Cup selection. Russell’s clever chip put Georgia on the back foot and the Northampton centre showed great footwork to step through the home defence for his first try in Scotland colours on his first Test start.
A 20-point lead at the break was everything Townsend would have wanted, but he resisted the temptation to wrap his key men in cotton wool just yet.
A training-ground move saw Hutchinson coming in on a beautiful line to glide over for his second try – 30-3 and game well and truly over.
Georgia were expected to give Scotland a stern test, especially up front, but this was serving as a reminder the gulf between Tiers One and Two in international Rugby remains significant.
With any ideas of a famous upset long since gone, the Tbilisi crowd lowered their sights on simply crossing the try-line.
Georgia hammered at the Scottish line and were repelled by some strong defence until substitute Kakha Asieshvili finally blasted his way through, to the rapturous approval of the home support.
Scotland gathered their thoughts and started probing again. The variety of Russell’s game was an unsolvable puzzle for the Georgian defence and his beautifully-weighted stab through was gathered by Graham to dive over.
Cummings came off the bench to batter his way over for try number five to give the scoreline an accurate reflection of Scotland’s dominance.
A rare and impressive away win for the Scots, with the likes of Matt Fagerson and Hutchinson doing their cases for inclusion in the final World Cup squad – which Townsend names on Tuesday – no harm at all.
Georgia: Matiashvili; Modebadze, Dzneladze, Kacharava, Todua; Abzhandadze, Lobzhanidze; Nariashvili, Mamukashvili, Gigashvili; Sutiashvili, Mikautadze; Giorgadze, Saghinadze, Gorgadze.
Replacements: Chkoidze, Asieshvili, Chilachava, Nemsadze, Lomidze, Aprasidze, Khmaladze, Mchedlidze.
Scotland: Kinghorn; Graham, Hutchinson, Johnson, Maitland; Russell, Laidlaw; Dell, McInally (capt), Nel; Toolis, Gilchrist; Barclay, Watson, M Fagerson.
Replacements: Stewart, Bhatti, Z Fagerson, Cummings, Strauss, Price, Hastings, Jones.