by James Dodd
Venue: Parc y Scarlets, Llanelli
Competition: Autumn Nations Cup
WALES ended their six-match losing streak with a sluggish win over Georgia at a wet Parc y Scarlets
The win is the first since February and only the second since Wayne Pivac took over at the end of 2019.
Tries from Louis Rees-Zammit and Rhys Webb helped the hosts to victory.
Two penalties and a conversion from Callum Sheedy meant the Bristol player registered eight points on his first start at international level.
However, the Welsh management will be concerned about captain Justin Tipuric after he was taken off in the second half after being on the receiving end of a dangerous tackle by openside flanker Beka Saginadze.
𝐅𝐔𝐋𝐋 𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄: 🏴 18-0 🇬🇪
A hard-fought and deserved win for this new-look Wales team in terrible conditions.
Canlyniad i godi’r ysbryd gyda gêm fawr i ddod yn y rownd nesaf.
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏉 (@WelshRugbyUnion) November 21, 2020
Samson Lee showed his presence early on in the scrum and helped gain two Wales penalties in the opening quarter of an hour. The result was Callum Sheedy scoring his first ever points for Wales after nine minutes.
Georgia’s lack of discipline in the first half gave Wales a good amount of possession and territory. This led to Luke Pearce giving Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze an official warning.
Following this, Wales opted for a 5m scrum and put the ball out wide after another penalty advantage. Nick Tompkins ran hard at the Georgian line and a slick offload to Kieran Hardy meant Wales had numbers. He found Sheedy, who delivered a sublime miss pass to give Rees-Zammit his first try for Wales.
Georgia did have an opportunity for their first points right at the end of the half due to Kieran Hardy not releasing after the tackle. Tedo Abzhandadze was not on target and the score stayed at 10-0 at the break.
The start of the second half was a similar one to the end of the first with Georgia constantly being on the wrong side of the referee. This time Georgia captain Merab Sharikadze was pinged for being off his feet at the breakdown.
Sheedy made no mistake to extend his sides lead to 13 points.
On the hour mark, there was then another player making his debut. This time it was Ioan Lloyd.
Georgia were then put down to 14 men after Saginadze connected with Tipuric’s head. The mitigating circumstance for Pearce was that Tipuric was already falling down, so only warranted a yellow card.
Wales did end the game on a positive note when a powerful Johnny Williams carry led to a Rees-Zammit break on the wing, who then passed to Webb on the inside for the score.
Aaron Wainwright was given the man of the match award.
Wales now face England next Saturday at Llanelli whilst Georgia travel to Ireland.
Wales: Liam Williams, Johnny McNicholl, Nick Tompkins, Johnny Williams, Louis Rees-Zammit, Callum Sheedy, Kieran Hardy; Wyn Jones, Elliot Dee, Samson Lee, Jake Ball, Seb Davies, James Botham, Justin Tipuric (captain), Aaron Wainwright.
Replacements: Sam Parry, Nicky Smith, Leon Brown, Cory Hill, James Davies, Rhys Webb, Ioan Lloyd, Jonah Holmes.
Georgia: Lasha Khmaladze, Akaki Tabutsadze, Giorgi Kveseladze, Merab Sharikadze (captain), Sandro Todua, Tedo Abzhandadze, Vasil Lobzhanidze; Mikheil Nariashvili, Jaba Bregvadze, Beka Gigashvili, Grigor Kerdikoshvili, Kote Mikautadze, Otar Giorgadze, Beka Saginadze, Beka Gorgadze.
Giorgi Chkoidze, Guram Gogichashvili, Lexo Kaulashvili, Lasha Jaiani, Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, Gela Aprasidze, Demur Tapladze, Tamaz Mchedlidze.