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Scotland undefeated but not impressive in 15-6 win over Georgia at Rugby World Cup

09/14/2011 05:32 EDT | Updated 01/12/2012 02:20 EST
INVERCARGILL, New Zealand - Flyhalf Dan Parks kicked four penalties and a dropped goal to give Scotland a 15-6 win over Georgia and leave his side undefeated and equally unimpressive after two matches at the Rugby World Cup.

After trailing Romania late before scoring a comeback 34-24 win in its opening match last Saturday, coach Andy Robinson made 11 changes to his starting lineup.

But Scotland, like it had against Romania, experienced big problems dealing with the huge opposing pack, a situation made even worse by the sheer size and agility of the Georgian forwards on Wednesday.

"The conditions dictated a lot of today," said Scotland captain Rory Lawson. "We came up against a big ol' Georgian side who were really determined, really physical and, ultimately, I think it was a workmanlike performance to put them away today.

"I felt we kept plugging away, playing rugby in the right areas, and ultimately put them under pressure and took the points when they were on offer."

Robinson said the win might not have been pretty, but Scotland controlled the game and the territory.

"Some days you have to play this way, you have to win ugly," Robinson said. "I was delighted with the mentality that the players showed."

The win in rainy conditions left Lawson with a 4-0 record as captain. Regular skipper Alistair Kellock was among Robinson's changes for the Georgia match.

"It seemed like within five minutes of kickoff the rain started falling," Lawson said. "I felt that if another couple of passes had of gone through we could have got a few scores. We forced one or two passes, which in those conditions ended up in mistakes."

He paid credit to his side's forwards for keeping his perfect record intact.

"A massive hats-off to our front five today, they were outstanding," he said. "Took the Georgian scrum on, and there has been a lot of chat about them. I think the boys went out and showed what we are really about today."

Robinson complimented man-of-the-match and backrower Kelly Brown, one of four Scotland starters who played in the Romania match.

"Kelly has been in very good form, for Saracens at the end of the season and for Scotland," Robinson said. "He led the pack."

Scotland led 9-3 at halftime with Parks kicking two penalties and Georgia flyhalf Merab Kvirikashvili landing one in the second half.

The Scots began to dominate play and possession in the second half, and the swirling wind at the exposed stadium that usually creates headaches for kickers barely caused flags to flutter. That made conditions more pleasant for the 10,267 fans who were in the stadium for the night match in New Zealand's southernmost city.

After Kvirikashvili missed a dropped goal in the sixth minute, he put his team up 3-0 from a 52-meter penalty in the 17th minute after Scotland winger Sean Lamont was penalized for being offside. Scotland took the lead 6-3 for the first time in the match in the 34th minute when Parks landed his second of four attempts after Georgia's Mamuka Gorgodze conceded a penalty for leaving his feet in the ruck.

The Scots went up 9-3 from Parks' dropped goal from about 25 metres in the final minute of a half that was punctuated by handling errors by both teams due to the slippery ball.

Georgia's Scotland-born coach, Richie Dixon, said his side made too many mental errors, conceding 14 penalties.

"I think over the game, Scotland dominated in attacking us," he said. "Our defence was coping but unfortunately for us there were too many errors, and Scotland kept us from getting any momentum.

"You can do all the training you like but it's only in the first game that you really find out, so we know we have a lot of work to do. We killed ourselves in terms of attacking momentum with so many fouls and penalties."

Robinson also felt the number of penalties, including six to his side, helped prevent scoring opportunities, and was surprised not to see any players sin-binned.

"It was such a stop-start game. That's what can frustrate you as a team, break your rhythm," he said.

After two games in four days, the Scots now have 11 off before taking on Argentina in Wellington on Sept. 25. Lawson reckons it will be a pleasant sojourn.

"We came here looking to get two wins in Invercargill," he said. "It's tough with a four-day turnaround and we've got what we wanted.

"We're going to leave Invercargill, leave the support, with nine points -- which we're really happy with -- and we'll put ourselves back together and prepare for the next challenge."

Hooker Scott Lawson was a late withdrawal for Scotland with a tight calf muscle. Lawson was replaced by Ross Ford off the bench, with Dougie Hall coming into the reserves at No. 16. Robinson said he wasn't sure about the seriousness of Lawson's injury.

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Scotland 15 (Dan Parks 4 penalties, drop goal), Georgia 6 (Merab Kvirikashvili 2 penalties). HT: 9-3.

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