Randwick's Ben Donaldson 25 point performance steers Wallabies to win

8 months ago

The Wallabies have started their Rugby World Cup campaign on a winning note with a 35-15 win over Georgia

The Wallabies have started their Rugby World Cup campaign on a winning note with a 35-15 win over Georgia

Fullback Ben Donaldson had a breakout performance at the back, contributing 25 points that included a double.

In search of their first win of the year, the Australians started fast when Jordan Petaia scored in the first two minutes.

It allowed Eddie Jones' side to build a commanding 21-3 half-time lead.

"When you've got a young team, haven't been doing well and getting criticised, you can go into your shell a little bit. But I thought they came out in the first half and put a conclusive performance together," Jones said.

Whilst Georgia showed some fight with a pair of tries, a second-half double to Donaldson was enough to close out the game.

They moved onto Fiji next week likely without Tate McDermott (head knock).

"We had a game plan. We've been building for a long time now and the boys executed really well for the full 80 minutes. In the end, it made me look half-decent so I put that on all the boys," Donaldson said.

The Wallabies started as hot as the Stade de France conditions when Mark Nawaqanitawase nailed a 50-22 inside the first minute.

From the resulting line out, outside centre Jordan Petaia barged over the line for the opening try.

The combination of Petaia and Nawaqanitawase proved plenty of trouble for the Georgians, combining for the second try of the match when Petaia’s flick pass found the winger in space.

Donaldson kept the scoreboard ticking over with several penalties as the Australian backline found space at will.

The big downside for the Wallabies was a head knock to vice-captain McDermott, with the scrumhalf all but ruled out of next week’s clash with Fiji.

They took a 21-3 lead into the break and started the second half with the numbers advantage when Mirian Modebadze was yellow carded for a cynical foul.

It didn’t faze the Georgians, scoring right at the start of the half thanks to flanker Luka Ivanishvili.

As Georgia started to build momentum, the senior Wallabies in the team stood up.

Captain Will Skelton blew up a maul on their line, headlining one of several turnovers.

Prop Taniela Tupou then intercepted a promising Georgian counter-attack, putting Donaldson into space with a great behind-the-back offload for a crucial try.

Donaldson sealed the win when he latched onto a perfect cutout ball from Carter Gordon.

An incredible try-saver from Nawaqanitawase capped off a great performance for the Australians, their first win of 2023.

WALLABIES 35

TRIES: Petaia, Nawaqanitawase, Donaldson 2

CONS: Donaldson 3/4

PENS: Donaldson 3/3

GEORGIA 15

TRIES: Ivanishvili, Gigashvili

CONS: Matkava 0/1, Abzhandadze 1/1

PENS: Matkava 1/1

WALLABIES (15-1): Ben Donaldson; Mark Nawaqanitawase, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete; Carter Gordon, Tate McDermott; Rob Valetini, Fraser McReight, Tom Hooper; Will Skelton, Richie Arnold; Taniela Tupou, David Porecki, Angus Bell

Replacements: Matt Faessler, Blake Schoupp, Zane Nonggorr, Rob Leota, Langi Gleeson, Nic White, Lalakai Foketi, Suli Vunivalu

Georgia (15-1): Davit Niniashvili, Akaki Tabutsadze, Demur Tapladze, Merab Sharikadze (capt), Mirian Modebadze, Luka Matkava, Vaso Lobzhanidze, Beka Gorgadze, Luka Ivanishvili, Tornike Jalaghonia, Kote Mikautadze, Nodar Cheishvili, Guram Papidze, Shalva Mamukashvili, Nika Abuladze.

Replacements: Tengizi Zamtaradze, Guram Gogichashvili, Beka Gigashvili, Lasha Jaiani, Giorgi Tsutskiridze, Gela Aprasidze, Tedo Abzhandadze, Giorgi Kveseladze.

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)

Assistant Referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Craig Evans (Wales)

TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

Article courtesy of RUGBY.com.au

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