While in Dublin it was Ireland that came close to a big upset, Georgia surprised everybody in Tbilisi as they beat Samoa, a team ranked many places above them, 16-15. Below is a fascinating video report from the match.
Samoa were missing Northampton Saints centre George Pisi due to suspension, but they had the likes of his brother Tusi, scrumhalf Kahn Fotualii, and James Johnston and Ofisa Treviranus up front. They were missing eight players in total, but had many big names with plenty of experience.
Georgia on the other hand were led by the imposing figure of Mamuka Gorgodze, the man-mountain that has claimed notoriety in the Top 14 for his no-nonsense approach to the game.
The Islanders outscored the hosts by two tries to one, but Merab Kvirikashbili slotted the decisive kick late in the game, and then Georgia held on for a historic win in front of their home crowd.
After scoring two tries in the first half and looking in control, eighth ranked Samoa seemed en route to victory, but Georgia displayed the type of character that has earned them well deserved respect, and will likely do great things for the sport of rugby in the region.
“The fans have a special influence on the players and I want to thank them all. We won this match together,” said skipper Gorgodze, saluting the 15 000 fans that braved the conditions.
Samoa coach Stephen Betham said that Georgia proved that they were worthy winners.
“Well done to Georgia on a brilliant and deserved victory. They, along with other second tier teams, must have the chance to regularly play the top teams,” he said.
Below is an excellent official report, featuring some of the scenes before, during and after the match. It includes footage from the post match function, where we get to see the humble Samoans treating those on hand to a little piece of their traditions and culture.