Rugby: Georgia outmuscle fancied Tonga in World Cup upset

Georgia players celebrating at the end of the upset against Tonga.
Georgia players celebrating at the end of the upset against Tonga. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - Georgia held out for a surprise 17-10 win over Tonga in a bruising and scrappy game at Gloucester's Kingsholm Stadium on Saturday.

The opening match of Pool C saw Georgia take a 10-3 lead into half-time with a try from their captain Mamuka Gorgodze and a penalty from veteran full-back Merab Kvirikashvili.

Handling errors plagued both teams in the second half, but flanker Giorgi Tkhilaishvili managed to touch down for Georgia's second try with the Tongan defence stretched after a meandering run from Kvirikashvili.

Tonga, who are ranked five places above Georgia in 11th, snatched a late consolation try through winger Fetu'u Vainikolo after they had two previous efforts disallowed.

Georgia will be back in Gloucester to play Argentina on Sept 25, while Tonga head to Sandy Park in Exeter to meet Namibia on Sept 29. Champions and Cup favourites New Zealand are the other team in the group.