Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Saturday 27 May 2006
TZAMETI KARTVELI (13 GEORGIANS) 57 ? 16 NETHERLANDS
Georgia displayed striking Rugby skills in the burning atmosphere of the Locomotive Stadium, Tbilissi with a comprehensive 10 try victory over combative Dutch on Independence Day (May 26th).
A crowd of 10,935 frantic fans braved the unbelievable heat of the Georgian sun, and it is believed that this figure could be higher since more fans got into the ?Gladiator? style Arena after the kick off.
The Dutch set the tone of what was to be a rather ferocious contest braving the famous Georgian Haka Perkhuli. Facing tough defense from both teams in the opening minutes, only the forwards could express their talents, noticeably through Kiwi born Prop Bev Williamson for the Dutch side and David Gasviani for the locals.
Georgia opened the score with a drop kick from stand off Merab Kvirikashvili (7?). The Dutch responded immediately with a penalty kick from Huddersfield Underbank Rangers Aaron de Jager (10?).
It was Georgia?s George Asatani who found the way first (13?) and then the sparkling locals began to break the Dutch defense, converting every opportunity with 3 well taken tries by Revaz Gigauri, Lexo Gugava and Merab Kvirikashvili (23?, 31?, 37?). The Dutch managed to reduce the score just before Half time through NZ born Duncan Taylor. (23-10).
The contest resumed as fierce as it was in the first half. But it only took 10 minutes for the Georgians to open their festival of tries. Local Prop Tornike Ashvetia powered through the Nederland defense (50?) followed by second row Nika Mkheideidze (58?). Winger Zviad Koberidze outpaced his Dutch opponent (60?) and hooker Beqa Kurashvili scored between the posts (64?), while Ducan Taylor followed a high kick from Aaron de Jager to reduce the score (68?) for the Dutch.
The Georgians completed their outstanding performance with two well constructed tries by Zviad Koberidze (78?) and second row Shalva Sutiashvili (79?), in a constant frenzy from the local crowd.
?I am absolutely impressed with the quality of Rugby Skills displayed today by the Georgians? said delighted RFL Coach Advisor Vincent Webb, ?I believe many of them could make some professional teams in UK very happy? he added.
?The Standard of the Georgian Organisation was simply outstanding? said equally impressed RLEF Match commissioner Benjamin Araud. ?The quality of match officials provided to assist Andrew Smith was very good, and to see such an enthusiastic and numerous crowd is unbelievable. The potential for Rugby League development is immense in Georgia?
After the match Tzameti Kartuli received an exceptional ovation in front of several tens of thousands people massed in the Streets of the Georgian Capital when they went on the stage set up for the National Celebrations in Freedom Square.
Friday 26th May
Locomotive Stadium, Tbilissi, Georgia
TZAMETI KARTVELI 57 ? 16 NETHERLANDS
Tries: George Asatiani (13?), Revaz Gigauri (23?) Lexo Gugava (31?) Merab Kvirikashvili (37?),Tornike Ashvetia (50?), Shalva Sutiashvili (58?, 79?), Zviad Koberidze (60?, 78?), Beqa Kurashvili (64?)
Drop Kick: Merab Kirikashvili (7?)
Goals: Merab Kirikashvili 8
Tries: Ducan Taylo (39? 58?)
Goals: Aaron de Jager 4
TD Sport and Travel Men of the Match:
Revaz Gigauri (Georgia)
Bev Williamson (Netherlands)
Att: 10 935
Referee: Andrew Smith (England)
Kakhaber Kobakhidze ?
Coach: Kakhaber Alania
Ronald Van Der Broek
Aaron De Jager
Raymond Den Engelsam
Bernard Van Holstein
Coach Ian Thompson