Scotland A 21 - 22 Georgia: Second-half collapse sees champions' defence start poorly

DEFENDING champions Scotland A suffered an embarrassing defeat in their IRB Nations Cup opener against Georgia in Bucharest.

Sean Lineen was furious with his side – the youngest in the tournament – afterwards, especially as they had been in control at the interval after a try from Edinburgh wing Mark Robertson and eight points from the boot of scrum-half Greig Laidlaw saw them take a 13-3 lead following a bright opening in soaring temperatures.

Full-back Irakli Kiasashvili kicked a penalty for the Georgians sole points of the half.

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But within 10 minutes of the restart Georgia, who are in Scotland's pool for next year's World Cup, had the lead as Kiasashvili kicked his second penalty before lock Shalva Sutiashvili crossed for a converted try, with Kiasashvili adding two further penalties to put his side 19-13 up.

Replacement David Blair finally got Scotland's first points of the second-half with a penalty, but another three-pointer from Kiasashvili kept Georgia six points clear.

A glimmer of hope came at the death when debutant Chris Fusaro crossed the line.

Working up the right wing, Robertson popped the ball back inside to Jack Cuthbert who unselfishly sent Fusaro in for the score, 21-22.

A testy conversion attempt awaited David Blair, but despite being on his preferred side, he couldn't find the target.

Another crucial attempt at goal followed but the replacement stand-off didn't connect with the ball and the final whistle blew, condemning Scotland to defeat.

Coach Lineen was left bemoaning a series of individual errors as he accused the Scotland players of letting the country down.

"In the first half we botched three or four tries just from poor decisions and you can't do that at any level," said Lineen.

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"The guys know that they've let their country down, they've let themselves and each other down.

"We're using this tour as a development tool and this is where you find out about players and if you have to take a bit of pain then so be it. The players forgot about the game and how hard it is.

"Georgia played a very simple game. They didn't play rugby, they just kicked. We were trying to move the ball about a bit, a lot of individual errors.

"We lost the platform in the second-half.

"We scored near the end which was good. But then just the composure in that last five minutes, we panicked a little bit and gave them back the ball when we needed to keep it."

Scotland next face Namibia on Tuesday.

Scotland A: J Cuthbert; C Shaw, R Dewey, J Houston, M Robertson; Alex Blair, Greig Laidlaw; E Kalman, F Thomson, B Douglas, J Eddie, S Turnbull, S Newlands, R Grant, A Hogg (capt). Subs: B Rennie for Dewey (6), A Kelly for Thomson, M McMillan for Laidlaw and D Blair for A Blair (all 50), D Young for Kalman (55), C Fusaro for Grant (62), F McKenzie for Eddie (68)

Georgia: I Kiasashvili; A Todua, T Zibzibadze (capt), R Gigauri, I Chkhikvadze; L Khmaladze, B Samkharadze; D Dadunashvili, J Bregvadze, B Sheklashvili, S Sutiashvili, K Uchava, S Maisuradze, L Tavartkiladze, V Kolelishvili. Subs: K Asieshvili, V Kakovin, K Mikautadze, S Sakvarelidze, G Rokhvadze, G Korkelia, M Ninidze