Rugby World Cup 2011 - Georgia 25-9 Romania
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Georgia defeat Romania in battle of eastern European nations
Georgia defeated Romania 25-9 in an historic battle between the eastern European nations at Arena Manawatu in Palmerston North.
While the match lacked accuracy it was built on an intensity that had the crowd of 13,228 on their feet as they welcomed the global tournament to the Manawatu region for the first time.
Regardless, the win ensured Georgia would walk away with a 2011 Rugby World Cup win under their belt, while Romania will board the next plane home with nothing to show for their efforts in New Zealand.
The first half scoring was dominated by penalties as both sides struggled to cope with referee Dave Pearson's strict control of the breakdown areas.Both fly-halfs made the most of the penalties given to them, with Georgia's Merab Kvirikashvili and Romania's Danut Dumbrava showing no signs of the struggles of higher-ranked counterparts with the ball, slotting six of seven kicks in the first 40 minutes.
But after both sides were heavily penalised, referee Pearson finally warned Georgia captain Irakli Abuseridze about pursuing harsher penalties of the yellow variety as the team known as The Lelos went into halftime with a 12-6 lead.
If the first half was riddled by penalties, it was the handling errors that went against both sides as Romania's grip on the match slipped from their hands.Georgia's confidence grew as the match wore on in the second half.
After a patient build-up of 15 phases, flanker Mamuka Gogodze pushed over the line to stretch their lead to 19-6.
A further penalty to Kvirikashvili was cancelled out by Florin Vlaicu, meaning Romania had eight minutes to score two converted tries to win the match.
Instead it was Malkhaz Urjukashvili who posted the next points as Georgia extended their lead to 16, a margin that was too far for Romania to overcome.