Rugby: Vibrant Scotland end good year with big win over Georgia

Scotland's Jonny Gray is tackled by Dudu Kubriashvili of Georgia.
Scotland's Jonny Gray is tackled by Dudu Kubriashvili of Georgia.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Vern Cotter's Scotland signed off on their best year since 2002 by overwhelming Georgia 43-16 in their final autumn test at Kilmarnock's Rugby Park on Saturday (Nov 26).

The home side bounced back after a strong start by the visitors, looking to stake a claim for inclusion in an extended Six Nations, to outclass their opponents with four first-half tries to take a 31-11 stranglehold on the match.

"It was a nice win," captain Greig Laidlaw told the BBC.

"We scored 43 points and a lot of good tries against a tough Georgia side.

"I am pleased with our attack and the way we are scoring points and causing teams problems."

Scotland started strongly but Georgia, buoyed by their recent victory over Samoa, took the lead in the fourth minute when youngster Vasil Lobzhanidze found space down the hosts' blindside before going over.

Scotland's mental strength has underpinned their improvement under Cotter and they began to express themselves, the quick artificial surface in Kilmarnock suiting their expansive, fluid style.

Tommy Seymour ended his barren run when he met Stuart Hogg's deliciously weighted chip to level the scores three minutes later and the hosts moved further ahead with a penalty try after a rolling maul was pulled down.

Winger Sean Maitland went over to give the hosts a 21-8 lead as Georgia's limitations were exposed before the impressive Hogg extended the advantage when he collected his own kick to score his 12th try for Scotland.

Hamish Watson added a fifth try in the first minute of the second half and although Lobzhanidze reduced the arrears after touching down following a typically powerful scrum, Hogg added his second as Scotland eased to victory.

"It was hard work," said man of the match Ryan Wilson.

"We knew how tough it would be. It's great to get the win in front of a great crowd.

"The first two games against Australia and Argentina have been so tight, things started to come together today and it's a tribute to the hard work the boys have put in.

"There is plenty more to work on but there is some brilliant stuff there and we want to take it into the Six Nations next year."

Scotland have won consecutive home fixtures for the first time since February 2013 and they ended the year with a 60 percent win ratio, their most successful year since they won six of 10 matches in 2002.